Watch out for 'storm chaser' scams - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Watch out for 'storm chaser' scams

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Experts are reminding those with storm damage to be mindful of scammers (WFSB) Experts are reminding those with storm damage to be mindful of scammers (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Consumer protection officials warned victims of last week's storm about potential scammers.

The state Department of Consumer Protection encouraged consumers to be on the lookout for scams as home repairs continue.

It said some scammers, which it calls "storm chasers," prey on families after weather emergencies because they know they need repairs as fast as possible.

The DCP urged storm victims to know the signs of a scam.

“Whenever there’s a bad storm, we always hope that everyone’s circumstances improve when the weather does, but that’s not always true,” said Michelle H. Seagull, consumer protection commissioner. “Some contractors take advantage of a situation that’s already stressful for families by offering to do home repairs at low cost, and not following through. Consumers should always do their research before deciding who should do repairs on their home. If a contractor asks you to decide immediately in order to get a cheaper price, or asks you to pay in cash, it’s most likely a scam.”

The DCP advised:

  • Shopping around to get more than one quote.
  • Ask questions for clarification about things not understood.
  • Have a contract with whoever is making the repairs.
  • Understand the payments and never pay up front.
  • Verify license registrations for home improvement contractors here.
  • If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

A walk around Felix Carde's Oxford's home off Governors Hill Road and you can see the aftermath of Tuesday's tornado. 

"Two trees hit the house, small damage, and two big ones went across the driveway and I couldn't get out," said Carde. 

Carde said 7 trees in all came down, clipping the side of his house, hitting the roof and the cutter, some steps and a drain pipe. 

"Often times, these guys prey on valuable communities, people who have just gone through natural disaster. They'll prey on the elderly, prey on people who want to get something fixed," said Lora Rae Anderson, CT Department of Consumer Protection. 

If consumers fail to resolve their situation with a contractor, they can contact the DCP by email at dcp.complaints@ct.gov.

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