Property owners in New Jersey need to be wary of scams in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Unfortunately, scam operators quickly move in after disasters to prey on people when they are most vulnerable. M&M Construction Specialist urges everyone to avoid giving out personal or financial information to people they don’t know and to only deal with reputable, licensed contractors.
If you have suffered storm damage and are seeking a contractor to make repairs, follow these tips:
• Ask for identification from anyone who claims to represent FEMA, state agencies, voluntary agencies or insurance companies. State and federal disaster officials work in teams and always carry identification. Insurance policy holders should contact their agent to verify the identity of insurance adjusters.
• Seek several written bids from contractors and check references. Make sure contractors are licensed in New Jersey to do the necessary work and that they carry valid insurance. Only agree to have work done based on written contracts, not verbal agreements. Don’t sign or pay for anything unless you understand and agree to all of the terms and conditions.
• Avoid dealing with anyone who demands payment in cash or to be paid in-full, in advance.
• Call the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs to learn whether the contractor is registered.
• Demand ID from anyone who claims to be from a utility company and wishes to inspect your home.
• Don’t give cash to anyone who claims to be collecting for hurricane relief. Make contributions by check through established voluntary agencies.
• Anyone with questions or complaints should call the NJ Division of Consumer affairs at 800-242-5846.