Wisconsin residents are being reminded to be on the look out for scam artists posing as contractors in the wake of this month’s severe weather.
Often called ‘storm chasers’, these crooks will try to sell you expensive repair work for cash up front, and then leave without doing a proper job.
State consumer protection director Michelle Reinen says you need to resist high pressure sales tactics. “Ask questions and get things in writing, and know what you should be paying on the up front and through the different stages of any work.”
Any legitimate contractor will sign contracts, show you permits, give you more information, and be willing to take payments rather than simply cash.
The crooks will also use other methods to steal from you, and Reinen says one common tactic is to ask to get into your home to get a drink or to use a bathroom while they’re on site. “We don’t want consumers letting individuals into their home unannounced, unwelcome, just because they knocked on the door.”
That can often be an excuse to steal from you, take prescription drugs from your home, or leave your house vulnerable to burglary.
Reinen says if you do need work done on your home, you should find someone local to do it. “We really want consumers to seek out a trusted contractor using references from neighbors, friends, family, even your local home builders association or insurance company.”
If you think you’re being scammed, call local law enforcement.