How Can I Avoid Scams After a Disaster?

If Your Home Was Destroyed By A Hurricane, Wildfire or Other Disaster, Be Cautious

Unfortunately, there are dishonest service providers that prey on disaster victims. They know that people who have lost their homes and valuables may not be thinking clearly. If you have suffered this type of loss, don’t make any rash decisions. Talk to your insurance agent, who may recommend service providers in your area.

Here are some basic guidelines for hiring service providers:
ROOFERS AND BUILDERS

  1. Don’t be rushed into signing a contract with any company. Instead, collect business cards and get written estimates for the proposed job.
  2. Beware of building contractors that encourage you to spend a lot of money on temporary repairs. Payments for temporary repairs are covered as part of the total settlement. If you pay a contractor a large sum for a temporary repair job, you may not have enough money for permanent repairs. In most cases, you should be able to make the temporary repairs yourself. Ask your insurance agent. And remember to keep receipts.
  3. Investigate the track record of any roofer, builder or contractor that you consider hiring. Look for professionals that have a solid reputation in your community. You can call your Better Business Bureau for help. Also, get references and never give anyone a deposit until after you have thoroughly researched their background.

A common fraud scheme is for a so-called “contractor” to convince a homeowner that a large deposit must be provided before repair work can begin. Frequently, the job will be started, but not completed. Unfortunately, these con artists are never seen or heard from again.

 

This is an excerpt from the article “How can I avoid scams after a disaster?” For more info, please visit www.iii.org.
How Can I Avoid Scams After a Disaster?

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