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Crime

Officials issue warning over summer scams

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Chris Caya/WBFO
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Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw says warm weather is bringing out shady contractors. Mychajliw says con artists often approach seniors by offering deals on home improvements paid in cash.

He reminds homeowners state law requires a contract on jobs costing $500 or more.

"The most important thing: when in doubt, throw it out," Mychajliw advised. 

"Call a loved one, call a family member and say, is this is a good idea? Should I be spending my money this way on a contracting job?

Also appearing at Wednesday's news conference was Sheriff Timothy Howard who urged homeowners who believe they were scammed to document everything. The paperwork can help law enforcement bring the con artist to justice and recoup any financial losses. Contractors should be able to provide proof of insurance.

Mychajliw also encouraged buyers to conduct thorough research and to be generally aware with whom they're dealing.

"If someone just pulls up to your house, look at their license plate," Mychajliw said. 

"Are they from New York State? Are they from out-of-town? If they're from out-of-town, you may never see your cash again."