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Beware: Storm Damage Scams

Scam Artist
David Friedman, Getty Images

This has been a brutal week for storm damage. Beware, like vultures, fly by night scam artists will descend on neighborhoods hit by storm damage.

On of the most common ones is dealing with roof repair. A person appears on your door step and says he or she is working int he neighborhood, and will give you a free estimate to repair your roof.

The person goes onto the roof and comes back down and says the roof needs significant work. Then you are told that a signed contract is necessary before the insurance company will give the authorization to do the work.

Alarmed at the possibility of rain damage to the interior of your home, you sign a contract that has a clause in it specifying a penalty of 20 to 30 percent of the job cost if you cancel.  Of course, the clause is buried in the fine print so you don’t even realize what you have just signed.

Another variation, the crook gives you a low-ball bid in order to get the job, and then raises the price before he will finish the work.  Or, gets a down payment and then skips out on you.

Most scam operators try to convince you to do the job right away so you don’t have time to get other estimates or check out the company.

The same type of strategy can be used by a tree clean-up scammer. There have all ready been reports of another type of scam in Sioux Falls from the Mayor.

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