Citizens Beware of Scams Following Storm Government does not solicit via phone calls

The City of Alexandria has received reports of scam artists trying to take advantage of those citizens who may or may not have been affected by this week’s tornado, according to Alexandria Utility Systems Director, Michael Marcotte.

Along with calls, there may be scammers knocking on doors and saying they are roofers or can fix whatever damage residents sustained.

Here are some tips to avoid getting “scammed.”

If you are called by someone about your damage, hang up. FEMA, or other government agencies will not contact you in this manner.

Do not discuss your business with anyone who is not your insurance agent or a personal friend or family member.

Be wary of contractors who seek you out.

Contractors who follow natural disasters can pose significant risks for homeowners.

To avoid unscrupulous contractors:

Verify the company’s business address and reputation.

Insist on a complete, clearly written contract.

Ask for references and check them.

Do not pay more than 50 percent up front.

Select a few companies and ask for written estimates.

Look for professional designations, if applicable, to the type of project you need done.

Be aware of warning signs for scams. These might include:

You’re told that a contract won’t be necessary.

You’re asked to pay for the entire job up front — or pay cash to a salesperson instead of a check or money order to a company.

You are confronted with scare tactics.

You’re told you’ve been chosen as a demonstration project at a special, low price.

You’re told a low price is good only if you sign a contract today.

The contractor won’t give you references — or the references can’t be located.

You can’t verify the contractor’s business address.

If you are in doubt, check with the Better Business Bureau, and report any problems to the police or sheriff.

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