Source: AgriLife Today
Texans affected by Hurricane Harvey should be aware of unscrupulous people who may try to take advantage of them through fraud, scams and identity theft and other criminal activity.
“Texans need to be aware of the potential for things like fraud, ID theft and price gouging in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey,” said Nancy Granovsky, family economics specialist, College Station. “Unfortunately, some people look at disasters as an opportunity to take advantage of the desperation and vulnerability of those affected. While recovering from a disaster, people may not want to think about this, but it could happen so they need to be vigilant.”
Granovsky, FEMA and the Texas Attorney General’s office also provided the following tips on how to avoid fraudulent contractors:
- Use only state-licensed local contractors backed by reliable references.
- Make sure the contractor has general liability insurance and workers’ compensation.
- Get a minimum of three estimates in writing and insist on a clear, written contract.
- Call the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints against the contractor.
- Write down the salesperson’s license plate number.
- Avoid out-of-town businesses as it may be more difficult to correct a problem or get your money back.
- Get everything in writing and keep a copy of all documents.
- Do not sign a contract with blanks.
- Make sure guarantees are in writing and are reflected in the contract.
- Have an independent agent such as an insurance adjuster or real estate inspector inspect the completed work before you make full payment.
- Don’t sign completion papers or make final payment until the work is completed to your satisfaction.
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