Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is warning about the possibility that scammers might take advantage summer's severe storms and the mess they make to offer fraudulent cleanup services.
Schmidt says that after a storm, the first priority is to clean up and rebuild as quickly as possible, but he says it is also to be vigilant in avoiding scammers. He said, "Friends, family and neighbors are usually the first to offer help. However, there are also those who take advantage of victims in their time of need."
Many times when homeowners are working to repair damages caused by summer storms, a home repair scammer will arrive on scene offering to do the work for a lesser fee.
Schmidt advises that often these scammers will ask for cash in advance to purchase supplies, but then they don't return to do the work. In order to avoid becoming a victim of this scam, Schmidt offers these tips:
- Ask for recommendations and references from contractors.
- Get at least three written estimates from different contractors.
- Make sure the contractor meets all licensing and permitting requirements, and is properly insured.
- Get all contracts in writing, and don't make a final payment until all work has been properly completed.
- If possible, do business with trusted contractors with whom you had a relationship prior to the disaster.
Homeowners are advised to be especially cautious of door-to-door contractors who offer discounted "leftover" materials, drive unmarked vehicles or quote a price that is out of line with other estimates.
Individuals who believe they have been offered fraudulent home repair services should contact their attorney general's office.