Attorney General issues consumer alert to victims of recent flooding and other storm damage.
Victims of this week's storm devastation in Central and Northern Indiana need to be cautious of people who may pose as legitimate repair contractors only to disappear with your money. Attorney General Steve Carter says it is typical for scam artists to prey upon victims of tragedy while they are vulnerable. "Not every person who approaches you will have good intentions," Carter said. "If you are approached by someone offering repair assistance, make sure to get all guarantees, promises and warranties in writing."
Reputable contractors will not hesitate to provide a contract and a written estimate of their work. Indiana law requires work estimated over $150 to have a written contract that includes an estimate of costs along with a targeted completion date. "You should never pay more than one-third of the total cost as a down payment and carefully read the contract to ensure it meets your needs," Carter added. "It is important to take these few steps in order to protect yourself."
There is little recourse when a transient, door-to-door scam artist takes your money and doesn't finish the job. It is often impossible to locate the person after they have left and many times you are left with poor quality workmanship. Use a contractor that is established and can provide you with good references.
Additionally, Attorney General Carter urges the same caution for residents who are solicited for charitable solicitations for victims. "While there are many reputable and legitimate charities attempting to raise funds to help storm victims, it is important to know what charity you are dealing with before you give," Carter explained. "Legitimate fundraisers will be more than happy to provide you with materials about their organization and won't pressure you for a cash donation on the spot. Individuals who solicit for donations should have proper identification and documentation. You should not give in circumstances where these materials cannot be provided to you.
You can find these tips and more on the attorney general's website at www.in.gov/attorneygeneral.