This year, several areas have seen record damage from storms. Wind damage and flooding from hurricanes have taken a massive toll on thousands of homes. If you are one of those families, you need to be aware of poor contractors, who come out of the woodwork in times like these to prey on people in need.

Beware of Scammers

Unscrupulous individuals take advantage of catastrophes to cheat people out of hundreds if not thousands of dollars under the guise of being legitimate contractors. Storms, such as Irma and Harvey, strain insurance company resources, creating an environment where poor contractors proliferate. The fraud isn’t limited to imposters posing as legitimate insurance agents. There are also people pretending to be repair or cleanup contractors who have no intention of completing anything more than a transaction that will leave you hundreds of dollars poorer.

Many fraudulent contractors will talk a good game and make it seem as if they will give you a fantastic deal on cleanup or repairs of your storm-damaged home. In reality, all they want is your money. If you are unaware of how they operate, you could become a victim.

How to Spot Poor Contractors

To protect yourself from poor contractors, look for the clues. One of the easiest ways to find a reliable contractor is to talk to others who have used contractors before. Organizations such as Angie’s List are another good source for finding legitimate repair and cleanup companies. If you are working with your insurance company to find contractors, be sure that you keep track of all communication. Ask for credentials before signing any papers. Double check to ensure the contractor you are about to sign with is approved by your insurance company.

You will probably hear many pitches for helping you out that seem too good to be true. Apply the adage “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!” At times like these, most bargain deals will leave you high and dry with nothing to show for it other than a smaller balance on your bank account.

Ask to see the contractor’s license before doing any business with them. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau to find out about any companies you are about to sign a contract with.  Check reviews of the company, also. If the contractor has many poor reviews, you can bet they are poor contractors; don’t take any chances with them.

Help Is Available

Falling victim to poor contractors is avoidable if you know how to seek proper help. As mentioned, organizations such as the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, and your own insurance company can help you find legitimate help for cleaning up after the storm and making necessary repairs.

Florida residents can also contact Citizens Property Insurance, which was created in 2002 to help homeowners who had trouble getting regular property insurance and insurance against windstorms. This corporation was established by the Florida legislature as a not-for-profit insurer.

When catastrophe strikes, it is important to stay calm, call your insurance company and make wise choices regarding help with clean-up and repairs. You’ve already been a victim of a raging storm. You don’t need to be victimized by poor contractors too.

The attorneys at Frohlich, Gordon and Beason, P.A., are happy to bring you the information you can use to prevent fraudulent people or entities from taking advantage of your circumstances. We offer residents of the southeastern Florida region high-quality legal services. When you find yourself in need of legal assistance, give us a call. We are the lawyers who care.