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9/15/2011 - NICB issues consumer warning after Hurricane Irene

Experts say homeowners should be cautious of unsolicited contractors.

As east coast homeowners survey their property damage after Hurricane Irene, scam artists are trying to take advantage of vulnerable homeowners by offering repair services. The National Insurance Crime Bureau says residents should keep the following advice in mind if they're approached out of the blue by an alleged contractor - "If you didn't request it, reject it."

As the NICB indicates, after devastating storms, scammers are known to go door-to-door, offering to fix or repair properties for an inexpensive price. What often happens, however, is once the "professional" is paid, they never show up for a job or fail to finish what's been started.

In addition to refusing unsolicited offers, the NICB says homeowners should do several things when hiring a contractor.

For instance, references should be asked for and vetted to make sure they're legitimate. Genuine contractors usually don't seek payment until after a project is complete, so homeowners should never pay a contractor in full before any work has been done. Property owners should also get in touch with their insurance company and apprise their agent of the repairs.

For more post-hurricane advice from the NICB, click here

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