As Hurricane Matthew begins to approach Florida and the southeastern part of the United States damage and significant flooding is expected. The National Insurance Crime Bureau is warning residents of these areas to be on alert for contractor scams after the storm passes.
Becoming a victim of a natural disaster may be impossible to avoid. You can, however, avoid being victimized by dishonest contractors often found lurking in their wake.
After a natural disaster, salespeople go door to door in damaged neighborhoods, offering cleanup or repair services. While many of these businesses are honest and reputable, others are not. The dishonest ones may pocket the payment without completing the job or use inferior materials and perform shoddy work not up to code.
The NICB recommends these tips before you act on a contractor's offer for services.
- Work with only licensed and insured contractors.
- Get more than one estimate. Don't be pushed into signing a contract right away.
- Get everything in writing.
- Require references, and check them out.
- Never sign a contract with blanks. Fraudulent contractors may enter unacceptable terms later.
- Never pay in full.
For more tips you can download our disaster fraud brochure here.