CONSUMER FIRST ALERT: Traveling repair crews target storm damage victims

Updated: Jun. 19, 2022 at 6:00 AM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Damaging storms and tornadoes devastated parts of the Action 2 News area Wednesday. That has consumer experts warning storm victims to watch out for scammers.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin warn about traveling repair crews that target areas with damage.

If a crew shows up at your door without invitation, hold on before you hire.

“The worst thing that can happen is that somebody hands over some money to these storm chasers thinking they’re going to get a quick fix on their roof or whatever is damaged and then that contractor disappears forever,” says Susan Bach, Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin.

The BBB says they get complaints about this every time there are storms and natural disasters. It’s usually about a crew that arrived from outside of the area doing shoddy work or taking money without finishing the job.

The scammers move around a lot so it is difficult to track them.

“Beware of anybody who’s kind of exerting some high pressure to get you to sign on the spot before you’ve had any time to do any kind of research or check on their credentials,” says Bach. “Those to check are the types of contractors you want to avoid. A reputable contractor will give you some time to check them out, check their references.”

The first thing you should do is contact your insurance company and see if they have recommendations for contractors.

Do your research. Hire local. Ask friends and neighbors for recommendations.

Resist high pressure sales.

Get a contract in writing with specifics of the work, a start and finish date, and warranty information.

Ask to see a proof of licensing.

Go to the Better Business Bureau website or DATCP website to see if the company has complaints.

Report suspicious traveling crews. It may prevent someone else from falling victim.

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