On the heels of last weekend’s storms, authorities are warning of crooks with home-repair scams. Bill Brauch, director of the consumer-protection division in the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, has little doubt there’ll be some scam home-improvement artists out there, targeting victims of the flooding and he hopes people will be be on their guard. It’s bad enough to incur damage to your home but he says it would be “just awful” to also lose money you’ve gotten for home repairs from a home insurance policy or FEMA’s disaster recovery program. Brauch says your first warning may be when someone comes around offering to help with your home-repair tasks. Reputable contractors aren’t going to be out soliciting business — they know they’ll be getting plenty. Brauch says to call your local workers, be patient with their busy schedule and work with the folks who have a proven reputation in your community. Be alert, and Brauch says you could help spot scam artists trying to find a target, things like a repair truck just showing up, going door-to-door, folks asking for money in advance, having out-of-state plates or phone number on their truck — they’re all warning signs. You can always check on a repair business or worker by calling the local law-enforcement agency, sheriff or police, or phone the attorney general’s consumer-protection office to check if there are complaints on file, or to get more information. That number’s (515) 281-5926.
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