It’s been a busy storm season across Iowa in recent weeks, and the Iowa Attorney General’s office is reminding you to use caution in finding someone to help you with any storm repairs and cleanup. A-G spokesman Bob Brammer says storm victims can be targets for fraud.
Brammer says they’ve seen over the years, con artists and others cheat people who’ve been hit by floods or storms. He says people are usually in a hurry to get things cleaned up and repaired, contractors may be busy, and it’s a recipe for them to take money in advance and not get the work done. Brammer says some of the trouble is from overworked contractors, but there are some who’re just looking to scam you.
Brammer says there are con schemes that move into places where there are problems, and he says you should be on the lookout. Brammer says the best option is to try and find a contractor in your town that you can trust.
He says see if you can wait until you can deal with someone locally. Check out the contractor first with references, get the contract in writing, along with estimates. Don’t pay large sums of money in advance, unless you know the contractor. If they need payments in advance for materials, write the check out to the materials supplier and the contractor. Brammer says there’s another thing to look for following a disaster.
Brammer says sometimes there’s price gouging after a disaster, and his office wants to know about that to try and prevent it from happening. Brammer says if you have any questions, call the Attorney General’s office, or visit the A-G’s website for advisories and alerts on potential scams.