One of the signs of spring and summer is an increase in home repair contractor mailings, calls, placing of door hangers or direct visits to tell homeowners about what problems their houses may have as a result of a long winter or heavy storms.

While many contractors are reputable, some are not.

The Aurora Police Department offers some guidelines to assist homeowners in finding reputable contractors. While this is the season particularly for roof and siding scams, the guidelines should be followed anytime someone is being solicited to contract repair or installation services.

The investment of a little time may be the difference between being satisfied with the contractor and his or her work, or suffering the hardship of being out thousands of dollars and having shoddy or no work done.

Many contractor scams take advantage of one's strong interest to save money. Incentives that lure people into scams include promises that a "free" roof or all of the siding can be replaced and paid for by insurance, or offers of a great discount on paving a driveway because the contractor "happened to have extra material" from a nearby job.

If the offer is too good to be true, it probably is. To find out whether it is too good to be true, call two other contractors and ask for repair or installation quotes. Compare details of what work each says needs to be done and at what price.

A contractor soliciting business who does not allow you time to obtain other estimates may be pressuring you into signing a contract without allowing time to think about it. If a contractor says, "You can take my word on that," don't. If what a contractor says is not in the contract, it's not in the contract.

Call the Better Business Bureau or check its website for information on a contractor. The BBB is often a good source of information regarding how long a business has been open, whether complaints have been filed against it and whether those complaints were resolved.

If you suspect you are the victim of a fraud, report the circumstances to your local police department.