Protect yourself from contractor scams after storms

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After a big storm or other disaster, a criminal element may be drawn to the area. Fraud can range from shoddy repairs to price gouging to people who take the money and run. Here are 4 tips for protecting yourself from contractor scams:

1. Get written estimates. These should be on the company’s letterhead, with clear contact information.

2. Get more than one bid. This will help you decide which offers are legitimate and which may be too high or too good to be true.

3. Use local companies. Make sure to check references and phone numbers.

4. Don’t pay up front. You may be left with new damage to your finances and the same old damage to your property. Good contractors will typically require a partial payment up front to get started, but your final payment should be made after the job is finished.

Information originally published by Texas Department of Insurance at http://www.tdi.texas.gov/takefive/contractorscamsdisaster.html.

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