In the weeks since Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston and South Texas, there’s been no shortage of information and advice regarding post-hurricane scammers. The nature of the scams vary, from disreputable fundraisers to home repairs to even people filing false flood claims. This kind of illegal activity isn’t exclusive to Harvey, of course. After Hurricane Katrina, over 1,400 people were prosecuted for fraud related to the storm.
FEMA recently guarded against fraudulent robocalls threatening to cancel insurance policies. FoxNews reports that “Texas residents are receiving robocalls telling them their flood insurance premiums are past due and they need to submit a payment immediately to a website in order to have coverage for Hurricane Harvey.”
If you have clients, friends, or family trying to recover from damage Harvey left behind, we have some advice for you to pass along.
According to CNN.com, when dealing with repairs, homeowners should:
- Consult the Better Business Bureau to ensure that contractors hold current Texas Licenses.
- Be sure to ask for references. Better yet, use a contractor you’ve used in the past or ask your insurer for recommendations.
- Get multiple bids on the work being done. Homeowners will get a better idea of whether or not a contractor is being honest.
- Don’t feel pressured or rushed to sign a repair contract.
- Most legitimate contractors will expect you to pay a deposit, paying the balance in installments or once the work is completed. Be careful of a contractor who requests a full payment before work has begun.