15 Jul How to Avoid Scammers After a Natural Disaster
How to Avoid Scammers After a Natural Disaster
The monsoon season and hurricane season have arrived and that leaves many of us vulnerable to scammers looking to take advantage of desperate folks who may have just received a large sum of money to repair property damage. Here are a few tips on how to avoid scammers after a natural disaster.
Be prepared for scammers to show up: within days of a natural disaster, out-of-state contractors will show up. They will be putting up signs in your community, advertising their services, or they may show up at your door. They know local, legitimate contractors are overwhelmed, and they prey on your urgent need to repair your property.
Never pay cash up front for services: if a contractor is insisting you pay cash up front, consider this a big red flag. Scammers may ask for full payment upfront or half so they can purchase tools and supplies. But they never come back – and leave with your money. Never pay more than a third upfront, and never pay in cash!
Get the bid in writing: always get the contractors bid in writing. Scammers love to make an agreement with a handshake which will not hold up in court, nor will it help you track them down if they disappear in the night with your insurance money. If they are not willing to put the bid in writing, you are most likely dealing with a scammer.
Don’t make snap decisions: after a natural disaster, it is understandable that you would want to get on with your life and dealing with property repairs is overwhelming. However, scammers will use this to their advantage and attempt to force you into snap decisions.
Be smarter than the scammer: don’t fall for the first offer than comes along. Get a second or third opinion, even if that means the job will take a little longer to complete.
Go local: after a natural disaster, it is to be expected that your local contractors will be busier than usual, but you stand a better chance of getting the job done right by going local. A local contractor has a reputation in your community, and a local phone number and address. Always check with the state regulation and local authorities that they are licensed and insured.
If you feel you are the victim of a scammer after a natural disaster, please contact the federal government’s special fraud investigating task force at 877-623-3423.
For more than forty years, the Knipp name has been helping landlords and investors with their real estate development needs – including renovations after a natural disaster. We invite you to visit us online at www.KnippContracting.com or www.KnippCommerical.com and view our portfolio.
Our team of experienced experts are ready to help you with all your construction and real estate development needs. We look forward to hearing from you soon!