Attorney General warns of "storm chasers" scam

4 years 3 months 3 weeks ago Friday, June 19 2015 Jun 19, 2015 Friday, June 19, 2015 3:28:00 PM CDT June 19, 2015 in News
By: Jacob Jones, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Attorney General Chris Koster is warning Missourians dealing with flood and storm damage to avoid clean-up scams.

Koster sent a news release Friday saying storm damage victims should be on the alert for possible "storm chasers." He said scammers go door-to-door offering to provide repair or clean-up services. The storm-chasers tend to ask for an up-front payment, then leave the area before completing or even starting the job.

Koster said the scammers use "high pressure sales tactics," usually request cash up front and may ask the homeowner to sign a contract allowing their company to negotiate with the home owner's insurance company directly.

Mike Harrison, the Mid-Missouri Regional Director for the Better Business Bureau, said the hard sell is a tool for door-to-door scammers. 

He said some phrases should be a tip off, such as "This deal is good for today only," or "low, low prices".

If they "say they're working in the neighborhood and have materials left over from another job, things along those lines," Harrison said, be careful.

Koster said storm chasers tend to have out-of-state divers licenses and plates and often cannot provide homeowners with local references or prove they have the required license or bonds. 

The attorney general offered the following tips to avoid being a victim to storm-chasers or scam contractors:

  • Do not pay for work up-front. Some projects may require a down-payment, but don't pay anything until you have a written contract. Also, always use a credit or debit card and avoid cash.
  • Beware any contractor who comes to your house to solicit work or tries to rush you. If an offer is "only good for now," find another contractor.
  • Contact your insurance company. Some insurance companies require an adjuster's approval before work can be done.
  • Seek recommendations from friends, family members, co-workers, etc. ?Only hire a contractor after you have checked their references.
  • Get three written estimates, if possible, to compare bids. If you're looking for a company's credentials, contact the attorney general's office or the Better Business Bureau to learn about a contractor's complaints.

Harrison said to go by what he called "the rule of thirds" when paying: put down a third of the cost up front, then another third of the total cost partway through the project, then the final third of the payment should be made only after the project is completed and the consumer is satisfied.

"Basically, that's an incentive for that company to finish the work and do a good job," Harrison said.

Koster said people who may have been victimized by scam contractors, can file a complaint here or contact the attorney general's Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-332-8222.

 

More News

Grid
List
KEYTESVILLE- A mid-Missouri father filed a wrongful death lawsuit Wednesday against the man accused of causing his disabled daughter's death... More >>
1 hour ago Monday, October 14 2019 Oct 14, 2019 Monday, October 14, 2019 11:21:00 AM CDT October 14, 2019 in News
ROCHEPORT - The Columbia Department of Public Health and Human Services is opening community-based pop up flu clinics in Boone... More >>
2 hours ago Monday, October 14 2019 Oct 14, 2019 Monday, October 14, 2019 10:20:00 AM CDT October 14, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Moms Demand Action is partnering with Stop the Bleed Coalition to hold crisis first aid training on... More >>
9 hours ago Monday, October 14 2019 Oct 14, 2019 Monday, October 14, 2019 3:40:00 AM CDT October 14, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Maries County sheriff's deputies said a drunk driver was to blame in a fatal car crash from early... More >>
15 hours ago Sunday, October 13 2019 Oct 13, 2019 Sunday, October 13, 2019 8:46:00 PM CDT October 13, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Drivers on I-70 westbound saw 2 mile long delays around mile marker 124 when the Missouri State Highway... More >>
20 hours ago Sunday, October 13 2019 Oct 13, 2019 Sunday, October 13, 2019 4:18:00 PM CDT October 13, 2019 in News
ROCHEPORT - The Missouri Department of Natural Resources said the number of people using the Katy Trail is down by... More >>
21 hours ago Sunday, October 13 2019 Oct 13, 2019 Sunday, October 13, 2019 3:08:00 PM CDT October 13, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The CDC began monitoring the 2019-2020 flu season this weekend. And doctors are urging people to get their... More >>
21 hours ago Sunday, October 13 2019 Oct 13, 2019 Sunday, October 13, 2019 2:55:00 PM CDT October 13, 2019 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA — Six Columbia churches had their first Sunday service with improved emergency health precautions on Oct. 13. The... More >>
22 hours ago Sunday, October 13 2019 Oct 13, 2019 Sunday, October 13, 2019 2:00:00 PM CDT October 13, 2019 in News
HARSTBURG – Celebrating another fall season with pumpkin carving, hayrides and a straw maze, the 28th annual Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 13 2019 Oct 13, 2019 Sunday, October 13, 2019 8:00:00 AM CDT October 13, 2019 in News
TOKYO (AP) — A heavy downpour and strong winds pounded Tokyo and surrounding areas on Saturday as a powerful typhoon... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 12 2019 Oct 12, 2019 Saturday, October 12, 2019 8:03:00 PM CDT October 12, 2019 in News
LILBOURN, Mo. (AP) — A small earthquake has been reported in southeastern Missouri. The U.S. Geological Survey says... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 12 2019 Oct 12, 2019 Saturday, October 12, 2019 7:41:00 PM CDT October 12, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — One person died after a crash in Cooper County Saturday morning. Haven Pennington, 19, drove her Pontiac... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 12 2019 Oct 12, 2019 Saturday, October 12, 2019 4:55:00 PM CDT October 12, 2019 in News
There is 5:40 left in the game. North Kansas City's Ronaldo Calderon kicks a field goal to give the... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, October 12 2019 Oct 12, 2019 Saturday, October 12, 2019 12:36:00 PM CDT October 12, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY — The dome of the Missouri Capitol building will be lit pink in honor of breast cancer... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, October 12 2019 Oct 12, 2019 Saturday, October 12, 2019 12:08:00 PM CDT October 12, 2019 in News
HARTSBURG - The Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival announced parking will be moved to the river roads near the festival grounds. ... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, October 12 2019 Oct 12, 2019 Saturday, October 12, 2019 5:50:44 AM CDT October 12, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A Columbia man is behind bars after a search warrant turned up illegal drugs and and a firearm.... More >>
2 days ago Friday, October 11 2019 Oct 11, 2019 Friday, October 11, 2019 10:07:00 PM CDT October 11, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Below are scores from football games around mid-Missouri. Final scores are in bold. ... More >>
2 days ago Friday, October 11 2019 Oct 11, 2019 Friday, October 11, 2019 6:39:00 PM CDT October 11, 2019 in Friday Night Fever
COLUMBIA - Friday Night Fever’s Week 7 Game of the Week features an interesting game between a traveling Rockhurst (3-3)... More >>
2 days ago Friday, October 11 2019 Oct 11, 2019 Friday, October 11, 2019 6:10:00 PM CDT October 11, 2019 in Friday Night Fever
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 65°
1pm 65°
2pm 67°
3pm 69°
4pm 70°