How to Avoid Roofing Scams After Major Storms
Natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes can cause widespread destruction in communities. These events can also leave residents of the impacted areas with little or no home insurance to rebuild their homes or repair damaged roofs. This is where roofing scams can become especially harmful.
In the aftermath of a disaster, con artists may see an opportunity to take advantage of desperate homeowners. Suppose you live in an area prone to natural disasters and are considering hiring a contractor to repair your home after storm damage. In that case, we recommend that you read this article beforehand.
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How Roofing Scams Operate After a Natural Disaster
Homeowners often don't know where to begin when a major disaster strikes. After all, many different types of repairs may be needed, contractors are swamped with work, and insurance companies are overwhelmed with requests for assistance. This can make it an extremely lucrative time for scammers looking to take advantage. Some of the most common scams that occur after a disaster include the following:
Contractor Scams - These scams can occur in any area but happen more often after a natural disaster. Contractors will pretend to be from the state or insurance company and tell residents that they must hire them to do repairs.
Roofing Scams - Roofing scammers may show up at your door, or you may find them online. These scammers often have shoddy equipment and cheap materials and may also have no insurance or license.
Price Gouging - Price gouging is an illegal and unethical practice that involves contractors intentionally raising their prices during a disaster. Price gouging can occur anytime but is hazardous after a natural disaster.
Signs That You Are Being Scammed
If you are dealing with a contractor and you begin to notice any of the following signs, it may be a good idea to reevaluate your relationship with that contractor.
Your contractor doesn't ask for payment until the work is almost finished.
This is a huge red flag. Reputable contractors should ask for partial payment after each job phase is completed. Scammers, however, may want to wait until the job is finished to ask for payment because they know you won't be able to verify their work.
Your contractor keeps rescheduling the job and doesn't have a legitimate explanation for why. If your contractor keeps rescheduling the job without a legitimate reason, this could be a sign that they are deliberately stalling so that they have more time to find new victims.
Tips for Finding Reputable Contractors After a Natural Disaster
After a disaster strikes, it is essential to be careful when hiring contractors. Unfortunately, this can be extremely difficult because you will likely be receiving calls from many different contractors.
Below are a few tips for finding reputable contractors after a disaster strikes:
Ask for references - References are the best way to determine whether a contractor is good. Ask for references from friends and family members who have used contractors in the past. You should also check online review sites such as Yelp.
Ask for proof of insurance - You should hire a contractor who has proof of insurance. If they don't have it, they may not be licensed. It would be best if you also asked to see their insurance policy.
Ask for examples of recent work - Contractors who have experience with similar work to yours are likely to do a better job.
Ask for examples of recent work they have completed.
Avoid Becoming a Roofing Scam Victim
Luckily, most of us will never experience the trauma of being victims of a scam. However, natural disasters can cause us to become so desperate for help that we lose our ability to reason. In these situations, avoiding becoming a scam victim can be especially important. Following the tips outlined above makes you less likely to become a scam victim after a natural disaster.
If you believe you have been scammed, contact your state attorney general's office to report the contractor. You may also want to contact your local police department. After all, you don't want this contractor to scam anyone else. Finally, remember that you are not alone. While scammers are out there, they are not as common as we think. Most contractors are honest and trustworthy. If you follow the tips outlined above, you will significantly reduce your chances of being scammed.
After a natural disaster, it can be challenging to know who to trust and how to find a reputable contractor. While this is always challenging, it can be tough after a major disaster like a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake. If you live in an area prone to natural disasters, we recommend reading this article beforehand to know how to avoid roofing scams after a disaster strikes.