MADIGAN WARNS RESIDENTS TO REMAIN ALERT FOR “STORM CHASERS” AFTER TORNADOES & SEVERE STORMS
Attorney General Investigators Assisting Local Law Enforcement to
Springfield — Following devastating tornadoes and severe storms that raced across Illinois on Sunday, Attorney General Lisa Madigan urged residents to be on alert for home repair con artists looking to exploit homeowners and local businesses needing repairs due to storm-related destruction and damage.
Madigan warned of home repair scammers who follow media accounts and quickly move into affected areas to take advantage of people. Madigan noted that these “storm chasers” use the opportunity to pressure people into making impulsive, often expensive, decisions about cleanup and construction work. Madigan encouraged local residents and business owners to call local law enforcement agencies and her office’s Consumer Fraud Hotline (1-800-386-5438) to report any suspicious activity. Investigators with her office, who already have been assisting local authorities in Washington, Ill., since Sunday, will look into complaints received about contractors.
“In the wake of this weekend’s devastating storms, communities face a long recovery process,” Madigan said. “During this challenging time, I encourage area residents to be cautious and on alert for scammers trying to take advantage of people in need of assistance.”
Seven Illinois counties have been declared disaster areas including Champaign, Grundy, LaSalle, Massac, Tazewell, Washington and Woodford counties. Attorney General Madigan recommended verifying that contractors in these areas have all necessary licenses, insurance and permits, and she encouraged taking extra caution before making any decisions to repair or rebuild damaged or destroyed property by avoiding rushing into signing a contract or making an upfront payment.
Madigan offered these additional tips to residents and businesses from being duped by dishonest contractors:
Attorney General Madigan reminded consumers that the Illinois Home Repair and Remodeling Act requires contractors to furnish customers with written contracts for any repair or remodeling work costing more than $1,000. A contract must be signed by both the customer and the contractor. The law also requires contractors to carry at least minimum amounts of insurance for property damage, bodily injury and improper home repair. Contractors also must provide consumers with an informational pamphlet entitled “Home Repair: Know Your Consumer Rights.”