Crime And Law

Homeowners beware cold weather scams

The icy, snowy weather sometimes brings out people with icy hearts who are trying to scam homeowners out of a buck.

Whether it’s an offer to shovel your driveway, or inspect your furnace, experts say you should take precautions before you fork over any cold, hard cash.

One winter weather scam to watch out for — people who ask for cash up front to shovel or plow your driveway.

“I would always be a little concerned if they want to money up front because they could just take the money and run,” said Amy Lee of Kettering.

Other scammers may knock on your door and try to convince you that your furnace or ducts need inspected, repaired or cleaned — immediately.

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“They have gotten pushy before and at that point I just tell my children to release the dog and tell them ‘thank you’ and ‘goodbye,’” said April Graham of Riverside.

Yet another cold weather scam comes in the form of a phone call that sounds like it’s from your utility company, according to John North, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Dayton and Miami Valley.

“They will say your bill is overdue and they need to collect money right away,” said North, “but it wasn’t the utility company it was just some scam artist that now has your money.”

To avoid phone scams:

  • Don't pay anyone who calls you
  • Hang up
  • Call the customer service number on your bill or statement

To avoid door-to-door scams: 

  • Don't pay up front
  • Check credentials
  • Get a written contract
  • Verify contact information.

If you see anything suspicious in your neighborhood, report it to authorities. You also can warn others by using the BBB Scam Tracker.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to

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