Scam Alert: Storm-Chasing Criminals Prey on Homeowners after Bad Weather

Scam Alert: Storm-Chasing Criminals Prey on Homeowners after Bad Weather
Image: Pixabay
April 10, 2015

Bad weather always seems to bring out the bad apples.

Strong storms like the ones moving through the state in recent days can leave behind damage—and attract shady roofing companies. These storm chasers knock on doors, saying that nearby roofs were damaged and offer to inspect your roof.

Some companies call rather than knock, but the pitch is the same.

The roofer's inspection always reveals damage. He may claim that your insurance will cover all costs and then ask you to sign a document to inform your insurance company about the situation. This document is actually a binding legal contract for expensive repairs.

The North Carolina Attorney General's Office has taken dishonest roofers who run this scheme to court, but unfortunately other roofers continue to use these crooked practices. To protect yourself from storm chaser scams:

  • Beware of construction and repair firms that call or go door-to-door for customers.
  • Get a second opinion before you agree to have any work done, and get estimates in writing.
  • Ask questions, and trust your instincts if the situation seems suspicious.
  • Read paperwork carefully and don't sign anything you don't fully understand.

If a salesperson "forgets" to tell you that you have a three-day right to cancel, remember: that law can still provide a helpful remedy against a spur-of-the-moment decision that you quickly come to regret.

If you spot this scam in action, contact the North Carolina Attorney General's Office.