LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – If you’re in the market of improving your home, there are some red flags you want to be aware of before hiring a contractor.

AARP volunteer Warren Searls said these type of con-artists like to scam elderly people because they are typically more generous and more giving. He suggested three red flags to look for when hiring a contractor.

  1. Did the contractor seek you out? Beware of contractors who say they stopped by because they just happen to be in your neighborhood. The good ones are usually too busy to roam around in search of work.
  2. Are they asking you for upfront fees? The initial payment should be no more than a third of the total estimate, payable on the day the materials arrive.
  3. Are they offering to do the work immediately?

“The chances are if they’re legitimate or a good roofer or home improvement person, they have a backlog of business. They won’t start something tomorrow,” Searls said.

Like with any scam, it is important to verify the company you’re working with. Ask them for their contractors license and also ask them for references.