(COLORADO SPRINGS) — The 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office (DA’s Office) is giving homeowners information to protect themselves from contractor fraud, a scam the DA’s Office said happens year-round.

DA Michael Allen said property owners should remain vigilant by making sure their contractors are bonded and insured as well as request references who can vouch for the contractor’s past work history.

Most importantly, the DA’s office said if you can, don’t pay upfront.

“Once they’ve got your money, there’s no incentive for them to follow through with the work,” said DA Michael Allen. “Find out if the contractor is legitimate by doing research; do internet research, check other resources, keep any notes and records that you establish in meeting with the contractor, carefully review any contracts, and consider consulting with an attorney before signing any contract.”

The DA’s office said if you think you’ve been scammed, don’t wait to make a report with law enforcement and consider reaching out to the consumer protection division at the Attorney General’s office; if you are a victim they may be able to help get your money back.