AMADIGAN WARNS RESIDENTS TO BE ON ALERT FOR STORM-RELATED REPAIR SCAMS
Chicago — Following severe storms and tornadoes in central Illinois on Saturday, Attorney General Lisa Madigan today warned residents in impacted areas to be on alert for scammers looking to exploit homeowners and business owners who may be in need of repairs from storm-related damage.
Madigan cautioned Illinois residents that scammers often move quickly into communities to take advantage of people with damage to their homes or businesses. Madigan noted these “storm chasers” use the opportunity to pressure people into making quick and often expensive decisions about cleanup and construction work. Madigan also warned residents to the potential that scam artists may be operating as insurance adjusters or public adjusters.
“As people face the daunting task of assessing and cleaning up the devastation left by the weekend’s tornadoes, they must also be aware that scam artists may target residents and businesses with repair scams,” Madigan said. “I strongly recommend that residents and business owners exercise caution before hiring contractors they do not know – particularly people soliciting door to door.”
Madigan said general contractors are not required by state law to be licensed, but municipalities may require permits. Home and business owners should check with their local governments for more information about permits or other local requirements. Insurance adjusters must also be licensed by the Illinois Department of Insurance, and roofers must be licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
Madigan encouraged local residents and business owners to call local law enforcement agencies and her office’s Consumer Fraud Hotline in Springfield, 1-800-243-0618, to report any suspicious activity.
Madigan offered the following tips to help protect families and businesses from dishonest contractors:
Madigan also reminded consumers that the Illinois Home Repair and Remodeling Act requires contractors to provide 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 the 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 and Construction: Know Your Rights.”