Scam artists may be trying to take advantage of Hoosiers who sustained property damage as a result of recent storms. Indiana Department of Homeland Security spokesman John Erickson warns fly-by-night contractors may show up in hard-hit areas. He says they may offer immediate help, collect a down payment for promised work and disappear.
Before hiring a contractor for any type of work, ask for proof he or she is licensed and bonded. Do not pay for any job in advance, and be suspicious of anyone who demands full payment before doing work. Pay by credit card, if possible, as doing so may allow additional protection should a problem arise. Never pay in cash.
Make sure the scope of work and all promises, along with a timeframe and final price, are made in writing. Be wary of people who just show up at the door offering services, especially for tree or debris removal and roof repair. Check to make sure any contractor’s vehicle has signs or markings on it with a business name or number or URL. If repairs are not time sensitive, try to get three bids from different companies, and remember the lowest bid is not necessarily the best.
Hoosiers who believe they may have been a victim of a home improvement scam can file a complaint with the Indiana Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. Visit www.IndianaConsumer.com or call 1-800-382-5516 to request a form by mail.