Don’t get struck by lightning rod scammers

ID-10011837Your BBB got a call late last week from a man in the Austin, Texas area who got taken by an apparent lightning rod scam.

A salesman convinced the elderly gentleman to write two checks for a total of $12,000 to have a worthless cable laid on top of his roof that’s supposed to assist with electricity bills. They told him there was a “federal stimulus” program for small businesses and that $6,820 would be reimbursed. Now the salesman won’t return his calls. 

Looking it up, apparently it’s a pretty common scam that targets the elderly. They sometimes come back to the victims to “service” the equipment and get even more money.

BBB warns that homeowners should:

  • Be very careful before contracting for any repairs
  • Do research – contact the BBB before you hire a contractor and avoid businesses and individuals who come to your door with a good deal.
  • Never give into demands for excessively large down payments. And don’t make full payment until all the work is done to your satisfaction
  • Work with local contractors who have a verifiable track record
  • Ask to see any required state or local permits or licenses as well as proof of insurance.