Jun
20

Home Owners: Don’t Get Taken by Storm Chasers

June 20, 2010

The Chicago area is still cleaning up after Friday’s violent storms, and if your home was impacted, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has a warning for you about home repair con artists.

Home owners with storm damage often make emotional decisions about repairs. Take your time and protect yourself against scam artists.

Madigan is alerting residents of North and Northeastern Illinois to watch out for scam artists who target home owners scrambling to make repairs after a storm.

She calls them “storm chasers” and says these people try to take advantage of home owners in desperate situations by pressuring them into a quick, and often expensive, decision.

“Far too often, we see man-made disasters follow natural disasters,” Madigan said. “Scam artists know how to take advantage of the emotional aftermath of major storms and persuade people to make snap decisions for repairing their home or business.”

Madigan offers these tips to protect home owners from storm chasers:

*Be wary of door-to-door contractors.

*Even if you need to act quickly, shop around for the best deal.

*Do not make large down payments or pay for the work in full until it’s completed. Do not pay in cash.

*Ask to see permits or licenses. Insurance adjusters must be licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Division of Insurance, and roofers must be licensed by the Division of Professional Regulation.

*Call the Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Hotline to check out contractors and see if there have been any complaints filed against them. The number is (800) 386-5438.

Madigan says that when a salesman visits your home and you sign a contract, you have the right to cancel that contract within three business days.

For more information on how to avoid being scammed, visit www.IllinoisAttorneyGeneral.gov.

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