Most of us feel secure in our homes, but there are two scams threatening that safety by playing on fears and targeting your money.
We're hearing about rogue locksmiths who show up, don't do the work correctly, and demand a large payment.
Gail says it happened to her.
Her gate lock was broken and she found a locksmith online. As it turns out, they were a broker and sent a man working for a different business.
Gail says the man called it a "tough" job. Instead of trying to fix the lock, she says the man tore out the old one and broke some parts.
He replaced it, charged her $120, and then wanted more.
She says she reluctantly paid him only the $120 and a few days later, the lock wasn't working.
Gail says the company wouldn't come back unless they were paid again.
"I'm a senior on a fixed income. I don't have $120," she tells me.
When you think about it, we usually hire locksmiths in emergency situations to get in our homes or keep people out.
Too many times, homeowners hire too quickly.
But since locksmiths are not licensed in Arizona, you must research first:
- Check for complaints online
- Avoid brokers who send other businesses. You must know who is actually doing the work.
- Demand a written estimate first.
- Pay with a credit card so you can dispute later.
Meanwhile, Acme Locksmith is trying to clean up its industry. Learn more about rogue locksmiths and how to avoid them here.
Another big scam happens in your house and it's even worse if you have a landline phone. They are calls from scammers, posing as government officials, threatening to get your personal information.
It's an old scam taking new forms and more money than ever before.
A new survey by Truecaller estimates in just the last 12 months, Americans lost $29 billion this way. That's about 50% more than last year.
In mid-August, more government money is being sent out for child tax credits so you can expect more scams.
Bottom line: these federal agencies will not call you out of the blue and would never threaten or ask for personal information.
My advice is, if you don't know the number, don't answer the phone. You'll get a voicemail if it's important.
And never click on links in texts.
Check any government concerns through legitimate websites ending in ".gov."
Find out more about government phone scams and how to protect yourself here.
Learn about all the latest scams by subscribing to the bi-monthly Let Joe Know email newsletter.