CHICAGO (WREX) — Attorney General Kwame Raoul is warning residents of scammers looking to exploit homeowners and businesses who may be in need of storm-related repairs after deadly storms hit southern and central Illinois over the weekend.
Raoul cautioned residents that scammers often move quickly into communities to take advantage of people with damage to their homes or businesses.
The following tips can help families and businesses avoid dishonest contractors:
Be wary of contractors who go door to door to offer repair services or “free” inspections. Ask for recommendations from people you know and trust and, whenever possible, use established local contractors.
Visit the Better Business Bureau’s St. Louis, Central Illinois, Quad Cities or Chicago websites to see if a business is a member and whether any complaints have been lodged against it.
Even if there is a need to act quickly, shop around. Get written estimates from multiple contractors, and don’t be rushed into a deal.
Get all of the terms of a contract in writing, and obtain a copy of the signed contract.
Never make full payment until all the work has been completed to your satisfaction.
Never pay in cash.
Be aware that you have the right to cancel a contract within three business days if you signed it based on the contractor’s visit to your home.
“While communities impacted by the weekend’s storms take stock and grieve all that was lost, residents should be aware that scammers are already devising ways to profit off the devastation,” Raoul said. “As residents and business owners look toward recovering and rebuilding after this tragedy, I urge them to take steps to protect against fraud by exercising caution before hiring contractors they do not know, particularly those soliciting door to door.”
Local residents and business owners can call local law enforcement agencies to report any suspicious activity.
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Rachel Sanchez joined the 13 WREX team in August of 2021 as an Assignment Editor and Producer. Sanchez graduated from Northern Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
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