Being aware of scammers posing as contractors

Being aware of scammers posing as contractors

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The aftermath of a storm can bring out the best in people, and the worst, in a community trying to come together.

After Hurricane Laura, people are finding what’s left of their homes, but while you’re in a vulnerable state, trying to figure out where to go or who to contact, experts are warning people of scammers who are posing as contractors.

They are going from door to door, making you sign for something that you may not agree to.

Willie Coleman saw the damage Hurricane Laura left in North Lake Charles.

“These homes are damaged, where walls and roofs are completely gone and there’s no structure.”

People desperate for help thought they signed with a contractor to fix everything, such as tarping their roof, until they realized, “it’s been a week, and in a lot of homes - as I’ve been going around and tarping homes and cutting trees voluntarily - these homes haven’t been tarped.”

Scammers are going door to door offering services that are misleading, which concerns local attorney Chris Guillory.

“Being approached for one project, one type of work - and them telling you ’oh this is just for this type of work’ but you look at the document they present to you and it’s not that type of work. It’s for a lot more.”

Guillory says when distinguishing between contractors and scammers, read the fine print and be patient, no matter how difficult the situation is.

“You have a lot of opportunistic vultures coming in right now trying to prey on vulnerable people and in order to not become that prey, you have to exercise patience and diligence and you have to read very closely whatever you’re presented. You cannot trust what these folks tell you these contracts say. You have to read them for yourself and be very comfortable with it before you sign it.”

The Better Business Bureau says although not all contractors, sometimes called “storm chasers”, are scammers, they’re recommending you check the license of an individual before you sign the paper and confirm with what they’re telling you to do.

You can check out extra tips and follow information by calling the Better Business Bureau at (337) 478-6253 or by going to their website.

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