The National Center for the Prevention of Home Improvement Fraud is warning homeowners on how to avoid contractor fraud.
The center warns that those particularly vulnerable are victims storm damage.
NCPHIF offered these consumer protection tips:
Before hiring hire any contractors, call your insurance agent, especially if: the contractor said they'll pay your deductible, won't charge you a deductible, or will fill out your insurance paperwork for you. These are huge red flags possible fraud, especially after a hail storm, according to NCPHIF.
Some roofing companies can use aggressive and misleading tactics in order to get more business, especially after a hail storm.
Be sure to get the contractor's license and insurance information, but verify the documentation.
Check with the Better Business Bureau to find out if any complaints have been filed against the contractor.
Be aware of this red flag for fraud – allowing your home to be a demonstration because the contractor has left over materials and getting a discounted rate on the work that's supposed to be done.
Don't leave valuables or identity information around that can be stolen or used to commit identity fraud.
Don't become intimidated by a contractor or a salesperson that insists you "act" quickly even if the work needs to be done quickly. Avoid dealing with contractors that asks for 50 percent up front to repair the home first.
Look into what types of projects the contractor works on. Most contractors have specialties and do not work on every type of project.
Don't sign anything until you fully understand the agreement. Have a trusted adviser or attorney explain lien releases to you.
Don't let a contractor who is inspecting your property out of your sight.
For more information or to get help with questions about a repair/rebuild project, contact NCPHIF at www.preventcontractorfraud.org or call 404.902.6100.
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