BBB warns of scams following severe weather

Apr 12, 2013

The Better Business Bureau is warning of scams following severe weather earlier this week.

Hail up to 2 inches in diameter fell Tuesday in parts of the metro area. Jim Hegarty is President and CEO of the BBB serving Nebraska, Southwest Iowa, South Dakota, and the Kansas Plains region. Hegarty says there are two types of scammers that surface following such events.

He calls one group “traveling storm chasers” who pose as local companies in storm-ravaged communities.

“They follow these storms around the country, settle in to markets, try to create the illusion that they are locally established. And the problem with using one of these contractors is they may do an okay job, but if there are warranty issues or anything relating to labor, once they’ve completed the work in the area they’re going to be long gone and there won’t be anybody there to honor the warranty of the roof.”

One of the most common scams, according to Hegarty, is what he calls “gypsy crews” who suddenly show up in towns with storm damage.

“And they’re really out to scam people, so they’ll show up at your door, try to get you to pay up front quick, offer a deal that really may, if you think about it, sounds too good to be true. But people do fall for these offers sometimes, and these guys are often just down the road with your money and do little or nothing to help you out with your repairs.”

He says the BBB has already received reports of storm scammers in Omaha this week.           

If your property did sustain hail damage, Hegarty recommends you work with your insurance company and find reputable contractors.