In the aftermath of flooding and other natural disasters, property owners are vulnerable — making perfect targets for scammers pretending to offer help cleaning up wreckage and making necessary repairs. Many people will attempt to reach out and offer a helping hand. With this comes the likelihood that restoration or home repair companies – some legitimate, some not – will also try to contact those affected the most.
“When severe weather rips through Indiana, the damage can be significant,” Hill said. “In the worst cases, the devastation can be heartbreaking. Many Hoosiers face the stress of out-of-pocket costs to make repairs to personal property. No Hoosier should face the additional nightmare of becoming a victim of fraud.
“I strongly urge all Hoosiers to double check a company’s name, reputation, history and authenticity before writing a check to a person claiming to represent such a business.”
Hill advised Hoosiers to do their due diligence and avoid letting the emotional toll of the situation influence their decisions about repairing or replacing what is damaged or lost. It is often wise to be skeptical of anyone immediately offering their services.
Hill offered several tips to Hoosiers: Avoid agreeing to any repair or restoration work on the spot during initial contact with someone offering services – this includes contracts. Avoid signing any legally binding agreements without first gathering information and researching a business being represented. Obtain information about the individual offering his or her services. Research the company the individual claims to represent. Look for signs of credibility such as an official website. Seek reviews and testimonials from former customers.
“The best decision is an informed decision,” Hill said. “Double check before you write a check.”
Hoosiers are encouraged to contact the Office of the Indiana Attorney General if they believe they have been scammed, or suspect someone may be trying to scam them after a severe weather event. You can file a complaint by visiting www.in.gov/attorneygeneral or calling 1-800-382-5516.