MARTINSVILLE, Ind. — State officials are warning people to watch out for scams as they continue cleaning up from the storm.
“A section of my roof came off,” said Martinsville resident Lester Ball. “A small section but on top of the roof there are holes throughout.”
Ball said he is picking up the pieces on his property in Martinsville after a tornado tore through Friday night, just one of 19 across the state.
“A big limb hit the top of our house and it made that noise and it was done,” said Ball.
Since the storms, Ball said several people have knocked on his door offering their services to fix his property.
“There have already been at least four contractors,” Ball said. “One was pretty pushy.”
Ball said he is hearing the same from others like his friend who lives in another damaged town.
“He said when they went over to Whiteland to start soliciting and it was like never mind people were already in a bad frame of mind from being bombarded by people they have never heard of from who knows where,” said Ball.
The concern is over scammers, sometimes dubbed storm trackers, who are looking to take advantage of people like Ball.
“Once they get that money from you, they’ll run and you will not see them again,” said BBB Director of Communication Jennifer Adamany.
As the Better Business Bureau explains, these scammers will travel where a natural disaster has struck and will pretend they will fix your damage.
“Typically they will go door-to-door to try and pressure you into hiring their services on the spot and use those high-pressure tactics,” said Adamany.
Adamany said she suggests people do some research before hiring anyone.
“Get everything in writing. Get multiple quotes,” she said. “You are looking at multiple estimates just to see what different services are being offered.”
Adamany advised that people should also ask for identification and check with their insurance company for recommendations.
“You can check their vehicle to see if it has their business name or their phone number,” she said. “You can check to see if they even have an Indiana license plate because often you’ll see storm chasers come in from out of state to capitalize on this.”
For anyone that has fallen victim to a scammer, Adamany said she suggests reporting it to as many agencies as you can. She said victims can report it to the BBB and the Attorney General’s Office.