BELTON — A widespread severe weather event that generates more work than local contractors can handle is a perfect storm for opportunistic fraudsters, said Ben Gonzales, spokesman for the Texas Department of Insurance.
“It’s almost a race right now,” Gonzales said. “Homeowners want to get with the best contractors.”
He added that while homeowners may be worried about another storm coming through and causing even more damage, they should be more worried about roofers and glaziers doing door-to-door soliciting.
“Always be wary of people who come to your front door,” Gonzales said. He advised homeowners who contact an out-of-town repair person to always get multiple references and to look the company up on ratings services such as the Better Business Bureau or Angie’s List.
Jarrod Wise, spokesman for the Better Business Bureau, counseled homeowners to be wary of companies that “mimic the names of other well-known companies.”
“Fraudsters will try and instill confidence as quickly as they can,” Wise said. “One of the tricks is to sound like another legitimate company.” Wise said that transient contractors who follow bad weather, called stormchasers in the insurance industry, are a constant concern, and added that a repair person coming to a door uninvited should be “a red flag” for homeowners and advised them to “never take someone who comes to your door at face value.”
“They use high pressure sales tactics and say they’re only in town for a short time,” Wise said. “If they say ‘I’m only in town for a few days or a few hours’ pass on that deal.”