Contractor Corruption

Contractor Corruption

Exposing the Epidemic of Contractor Scams

Severe weather events have wreaked havoc on homes across the United States, leaving countless homeowners in desperate need of repairs. Unfortunately, this surge in demand has led to an alarming increase in home improvement scams.

To learn about the scope and impact of these scams, we surveyed 1,018 Americans about their firsthand experiences with contractors. With this study, we hope to uncover the prevalence of scams, the variety of scams perpetrated, and the impact on scam victims.

Falling for Contractor Scams

Key Takeaways

  • Baby boomers were the most likely to fall victim to a contractor scam (15%), followed by millennials (13%), Gen Xers (10%), and Gen Zers (9%).
  • Of those who were scammed by a contractor:
    • The top two ways they found contractors were referrals from family or friends (34%) and online searches (29%).
    • 52% checked the credentials of the contractor before hiring them.
    • 94% said they believe the quality of a contractor’s work is more important than affordability.
    • 1 in 10 said they’d be willing to hire a contractor with a two-star rating if they offered a good price. 
  • Top 5 contractor actions that alerted scammed clients to the fraud:
  1. Didn’t complete the job or did poor quality work that failed to meet agreed-upon standards (63%)
  2. Frequently arrived late or missed appointments without a valid reason (40%)
  3. Added extra charges or fees not previously discussed (26%)
  4. Refused to answer questions or was evasive about progress updates (25%)
  5. Provided either no written contract or a vague contract without job specifics or costs (13%)
Impact on Scam Victims

Key Takeaways

  • Scammed clients lost an average of $2,426.
  • 18% of scam victims took legal action against the contractor; another 30% threatened to.
  • 47% of those who were scammed reported it. Of those:
    • 53% reported to the Better Business Bureau.
    • 26% reported to the local police department.
    • 23% reported to their state’s attorney general’s office.
    • 17% made a social media post reporting the scam. 
    • 28% were fully reimbursed, and 23% were partially reimbursed.
    • 49% were not reimbursed at all.
  • 76% of scam victims said they don’t believe current laws and regulations are sufficient to protect homeowners from contractor scams.

Safeguarding Homeowners

Impacting homeowners and renters of all ages, 10% of Americans have fallen victim to contractor scams, losing thousands of dollars. To protect homeowners, policymakers need to strengthen laws and regulations regarding contractors and set up more concrete avenues for accountability and contract enforcement.

In the meantime, homeowners can protect themselves by only hiring contractors that are licensed and bonded, as surety bonds provide financial security against contractor scams. Implementing these measures can help restore trust between contractors and clients, empowering homeowners to invest in their property with confidence and peace of mind.


JW Surety surveyed 1,018 Americans about their experiences with contractors. 97% were homeowners, and the remaining 3% either rented or lived rent-free. 51% were women, 48% were men, and 1% were non-binary.

About JW Surety Bonds

JW Surety Bonds, the leading provider of surety bonds nationwide, offers businesses and individuals a comprehensive range of bonding solutions. Our expertise and dedication ensure a seamless bonding process, empowering clients to pursue their goals with confidence and peace of mind.

Fair Use Statement

Concerned about potential home improvement scams? Feel free to share the findings of this article with others for noncommercial purposes only, but please provide a link back to this page so readers can access our full findings and methodology.


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