Protecting against ‘storm chasers’ targeting vulnerable homeowners

Better Call 4

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Rain, lightning, wind or ice — Mother Nature can do a lot of damage to your home. And when it’s time to clean up, some so-called “contractors” can do serious damage to your wallet.  

“They’re going to be going door-to-door and they’re going to be trying to get cash up front, and they’re not necessarily going to have any interest in completing the job,” said Kip Morse, President of the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio. 

The BBB calls them “storm chasers,” or companies that follow severe weather, to collect cash from vulnerable homeowners, then move on to the next storm-ravaged area, before the job’s done. 

“They might go out there with some tools, and you go back in your living room, and then, next thing you know… You gave them cash and they’re nowhere to be found,” Morse said. 

So, how can you tell the difference between a legitimate business and a scammer when severe weather strikes? 

“If they don’t have a contract, if they don’t have a business card, if they don’t have anything on their truck, if they don’t have any paperwork… red flag.” 

And don’t be afraid to ask questions. 

“If you ask, ‘Are you a part of the Better Business Bureau? Do you have any certifications in this area?’ And if they make up some certifications, you write that down and do your research. You can find out if they’re lying pretty quick,” said Morse. 

Also, check with your insurance company. If you’re covered, they can provide suggestions for contractors, and help you when it comes to moving forward with a signed contract. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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