Eye on Scams: Protect yourself from ‘storm chasers’

Eye on Scams

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Lingering reports of unlicensed contractors and fraudsters are occurring in Acadiana. Nearly all of Acadiana has recently experienced severe weather, specifically Hurricanes Laura and Delta then followed by the hard freeze last month. Unfortunately, the aftermath brought out contractors taking advantage of ‘storm chasers.’

Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said, “We’ve continued to get reports through complaints that we’re receiving from consumers about contractors that are unlicensed to be performing the types of services that they are. We would encourage consumers to make sure that you’re checking out businesses, make sure that they’re licensed to do the type of work that they’re doing.”

Important words from the Better Business Bureau about ‘storm chasers,’ unlicensed contractors and fraudsters. These types of contractors are in Acadiana, scamming people out of thousands of dollars.

“When there’s a lot of opportunity, businesses sometimes attempt to perform some type of services that are really outside of what they’re licensed to do so we encourage you to check out the company, make sure that they have the proper licensing, ask them what licensing they’re supported to have and check that out,” added Babin.

Although not all storm chasers are scammers, they may lack the proper licensing for your area, offer quick fixes, or fail at making large necessary repairs such as changing roofs.

“The other side is that not only dealing with a business that’s licensed that will actually probably perform the work, but just a person or an individual that’s just completely a fraudster that’s going to collect funds and actually not perform the work at all which could be an even worse situation.”

The Better Business Bureau of Acadiana offers these tips for victims of natural disasters:

  • Contact your insurance company. Ask about your policy coverage and filing requirements.
  • Do your research. Check with the Louisiana State Licensing Board for contractors to make sure they are licensed.
  • Resist high-pressure sales. Some storm chasers use tactics such as the “good deal” you’ll get only if you hire the contractor on the spot.
  • Be especially careful of door-to-door contractors and ask for identification.

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