INDIANA — After a tornado swept through Madison County on Memorial Day, Attorney General Curtis Hill today warned Hoosiers to be wary of scams. Scammers often strike after severe storms, taking advantage of homeowners needing repairs.
“We’ve all seen the significant damage that can result from storms ripping through neighborhoods,” Attorney General Hill said. “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.”
Reputable contractors also visit storm-ravaged neighborhoods offering their services, Attorney General Hill noted, but consumers must do their homework to make sure to hire trustworthy companies.
Attorney General Hill offered these tips to Hoosiers:
- 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 best decision is an informed decision,” Attorney General Hill said. “Double check before you write a check.”
Hoosiers are encouraged to contact the Office of the Indiana Attorney General about any suspected scams. You can file a complaint by visiting indianaconsumer.com or calling (800) 382-5516.