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Authorities Warn of Home Repair Scams Following Hurricane Sandy

There are many reputable contractors out there, but there are just as many “storm chasers” who are looking to take advantage of people following the storm, according to Westport Police Captain Sam Arciola.

 

While there are many honest workers willing to provide their servises to get your property back into shape, unfortunately, some folks look to take advantage following catastrophic events like Hurricane Sandy.

"In the wake of a major storm like Hurricane Sandy you may be among the many people looking for help," said Westport Police Captain Sam Arciola. 

There are many reputable contractors out there, but there are just as many “storm chasers” who are looking to take advantage of someone in need, he said. 

On Thursday, Darien Police and the New Canaan Office of Emergency Management warned area residents that a white male in his 40s was traveling around in a maroon SUV and attempting to dupt residents into thinking he was a FEMA agent. Authorities said to ask for ID then immediately call authorities. Do not allow this person into your home.

Arciola said residents should be wary of anyone who shows up uninvited at your door, contractors who drive unmarked trucks, or anyone who asks for a lot of money up front to perform work on your home. 

The Federal Trade Commission offers these simple steps for protection from home repair scams in the wake of the storm:

  1. Check the contractor’s identification and references.
  2. Avoid paying more than the minimum in advance – and don’t pay cash!
  3. Deal with reputable people in your community.
  4. Call the police department and the Better Business Bureau if you suspect a con.
  5. Always ask for copies of the contractor’s general liability and worker’s compensation insurance.

"Walk away from any contractor who uses high pressure sales tactics or requires full payment up front, as well as any one who requires you to get the necessary permits," Arciola said.

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