Consumer Alert: The Better Business Bureau warns flood victims to beware of ‘storm chaser’ scammers

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HONOLULU (KHON2) – The Better Business Bureau is warning homeowners affected by last week’s flooding, to beware of con artists posing as contractors.

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The BBB says “storm chasers” often linger during a storm aftermath to get to their next victim. These con artists will reach out to people with storm damage to their homes through text, phone call, or even drive up to their house to offer a cheap repair job.

“Don’t pay for all of those repairs in advance,” said Roseann Freitas, the Better Business Bureau Hawaii Marketplace Manager. “You want to hold some money back so that you can make sure that the job is completed. Also use businesses with local addresses and make sure this person is here locally and that they are registered with the State of Hawaii DCCA.”

Not all “storm chasers” are fake businesses. Some of them can be legitimate, but some will run off with the money before completing the job.

“Make sure you’re using a reputable company and have a contract in place. Do not let them start any work until you have a written contract that describes the scope of work and the expectations, so you have that to fall back on.”

The BBB suggests, working with insurance companies to hire a licensed contractor, find a business that’s trustworthy, and be proactive in selecting a contractor.

“You need to make sure they have a license for whatever you’re hiring them for. Then if they do run off the job and not complete it, you actually have a lot of recourse there with a licensed contractor. You could reach out to the RICO Department with the State of Hawaii, and they most definitely can help there.”

To look for reputable businesses, check their status on the BBB website.

To learn more about storm scams, click here.

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