Find out what your insurance covers
Scam artists prey on victims of storms, floods, wildfires and other disasters involving widespread property damage. To avoid costly mistakes:
- Contact your insurance agent to find out what is covered by your policy before hiring a contractor.
- Check the contractor’s license and complaint history with the Construction Contractors Board before signing any contract.
- Flyers and business cards left on doorsteps. Legitimate contractors wait for you to contact them.
- Anyone who appears in an area offering repairs immediately following a disaster may be a scam artist. Some pose as government officials and claim that you must pay a "processing fee" to get disaster relief payments or loans. Others pretend to be safety inspectors and tell you that expensive or unneeded repairs must be done immediately.
- The scammer offers to start work on the spot and says you will only be charged the amount of your insurance company settlement - even before your insurer has discussed a settlement offer.
- The scammer asks for full payment or a large deposit up front.
- The scammer asks for cash to buy materials even though legitimate contractors have accounts with suppliers and don't operate on a cash-only basis.