How to Protect Yourself From Strom Swindlers

By Jessica Cihacek

Published 07/01 2014 10:54AM

Updated 08/14 2014 10:00AM


Sioux City, IA (ABC 9 News) - Toppled trees, scattered shingles, broken windows.

You see the damage left behind by severe weather and feel overwhelmed. Storm chasing scammers see that damage and feel hopeful – it's an opportunity to swindle you.

While many companies responding to help with storm cleanup and repairs have good intentions and do good work, Angie's List warns you to be on alert.

Angie Hicks, says, "A lot of times they have taken money and didn't do the work, they did shoddy work or they are not standing behind it after the work is done."

So how do you recognize these crooked contractors?

Angie says, "Watch for whether the company is local, they have marked trucks and vehicles, a local phone number because a lot of these projects that you are having done, roofing for example, is something you need to last a long time. It might come with a warranty as well. You want a company that is going to stand behind that work."

These contractors often try to strong–arm homeowners into signing a contract on the spot for a "discount." Angie's List says a deal today should be a deal tomorrow. Another red flag? companies that demand full payment upfront.

It's also important to understand what your insurance policy covers before a storm hits. Never sign over your homeowner's insurance settlement upfront and avoid a company that offers to pay or help with your deductible. In some states, deductible help is considered insurance fraud.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.