Ways You Can Avoid Contractor FraudIf you are a homeowner, then at some point in time, you may have to repair or replace something that is damaged.  For example, your roof may be heavily damaged in severe weather conditions such as wind and/or hail. As a result, you could be faced with contractor fraud. Unfortunately, fraud happens all the time and you need to recognize the red flags and ways you can avoid contractor fraud.

Don’t be the Next Victim; Key Tips to Recognize Contractor Fraud

Any time you need work done to your home, it’s a good chance you will require a contractor which means you need to be informed. Whether you are being faced with poor workmanship, falsified damages, overpriced estimates, or deceptive services, this type of contractor fraud is everywhere. Below are some steps you can follow to protect yourself and your home.

Confirm Insurance/License- Before hiring a contractor, you need to confirm the necessary insurance before any work is performed. Ask for their insurance information and then check with the carrier to verify they have the needed coverage in case there is an incident. Also, ask to see their contractors’ license. Any legitimate contractor should provide this if requested.  If they don’t or are hesitant to provide this, move on to someone else.

Inspect the License Plate- If you meet with a contractor, take note of the license plate. If you see out of state tags, it may be a red flag that this person is pursuing activity in a vulnerable area. For example, when there are severe damages in a certain town created by a hurricane, tornado or other severe weather conditions, these scammers will show up and go door to door looking for their next scam opportunity. If you are suspicious, you can use the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s VIN check to search the license plate in question.

Take Inventory/Document- When you experience damage(s) or a loss, make sure you document everything.  Take videos and photos of the situation prior to a contractor coming out. This way, you have evidence and data when you make a claim or faced with fraudulent activity.

Avoid Contractors Asking for Money- Beware of anyone who says they need the money upfront or a down payment before the work is done. This typically should be noted as a red flag.

Review the Contract- Don’t sign a contract until you have thoroughly reviewed and understood everything on it. Once this is done, store the contract in a safe location should you later have questions or concerns after the work is completed.

Contact Your Local Alabama Independent Agent- In an effort to have prompt service and claim handling, it is recommended you contact your insurance agent at the first sign of damages to your house.  That way the claim can be initiated, and an adjuster can inspect the damages. Insurance carriers can assign a reputable contractor to perform the job. This way you can be secure in knowing you will be working with someone reliable and unlikely to commit fraud.

Researching any contractor before signing a contract is certainly a good way to avoid being scammed. Contact Burkett & Associates today to address any questions or concerns you may have concerning fraudulent contractors. We are here for all your Alabama homeowners needs.  Don’t wait!  Call us today at 256-704-7400.