Helpful hints to avoid post-storm scam artists

Cyrstin Cierha Walker - Middletown

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill is warning residents to be wary of scams that come in the wake of severe weather.

“Hoosiers needing home repairs can become vulnerable targets for fly-by-night fix-up crews that appear at their doorsteps promising to work cheaply and quickly, ” said Hill.

Here are some helpful tips for residents after multiple tornadoes swept across Indiana on Monday:

  • Do not sign documents or agree to any repair work on the spot during initial contact with someone offering services. Instead, simply obtain the person’s contact information.
  • Do not provide access to your home to any stranger offering to perform a free inspection. Among other possible dangers, unethical contractors have been known to secretly cause damage to homes in order to then repair it.
  • Do not fall for high-pressure tactics such as the claim that you’ll get the best deal by agreeing to hire a contractor immediately on the spot.
  • Consider the possible wisdom of finding your own contractor rather than accepting the services of someone who shows up at your house.
  • Research any business or individual offering services. Look for signs of credibility such as official websites. Seek reviews and testimonials from former customers.
  • Contact your insurance agency to find out your terms of coverage. Ask whether your insurance company recommends any particular repair company.
  • Do not sign over insurance checks directly to repair companies. Rather, obtain the invoices yourself and pay repair companies directly.
  • Get multiple quotes. Shop and compare just as you would with any other important consumer decision.
  • Avoid letting the emotional toll of a situation influence decisions about repairing or replacing items that are damaged or lost.

The Office of the Attorney General is encouraging people to report suspected scams by calling 1-800-382-5516 or visiting indianaconsumer.com.

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