Possible scam: Better Business Bureau (BBB) ​​warns of scams ahead of winter in Chicago

Chicago (WLS) — Before winter officially begins, the Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to beware of fraudsters.

The agency said scammers would pop up and try to blackmail consumers with various winter scams.

“Just in time to wreck the holidays, smart crooks will try to steal your money, identity and personal possessions,” said BBB President and CEO Steve J. Bernas. Ruined your home.”

This time of year, scammers will be offering a variety of services, including energy audits, winter insulation services, snow removal services and furnace inspections. Illinois utilities are prohibited from shutting down service during severe weather, so the BBB says if you’re concerned about a bill being overdue, please contact your utility directly; when dealing with any utility, be sure to call the customer service number on your bill .

The BBB offers tips for finding a reputable contractor for furnace maintenance or repairs and avoid falling victim to a scam:

Always check their ratings and reviews BBB.org.

Ask for reference.

Never pay cash upfront or sign a contract until you have had time to vet the company.

RELATED: What Is Scam Bait and How Others Use It to Help Protect You From Phone Scams?

Illinois law requires a contract for any project costing more than $1,000.

Do an online search for the contractor’s name and the word “junk mail.”

Pay bills with a credit card. This offers more protection than a debit card.

Be on high alert if someone contacts you unsolicited.

Never let anyone into your home without thoroughly checking their background and discussing it with a trusted neighbor or family member.

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