VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Alia talks with Tim Maniscalo, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Indiana, about protecting yourself from "Storm Chaser Scams".
Maniscalo says it's a scam they see quite a bit during this time of year, especially after storms and severe weather.
"They'll go into neighborhoods, they'll start on knocking on doors," Maniscalo said, "and they'll say 'Hey, I can repair your roof, I can take down your tree, whatever the situation might be, but you got to pay me cash'."
Once a customer pays cash on the spot, Maniscalo says the "worker" will take the money and never come back to do the job.
Maniscalo says the "Storm Chasers" act fast, often showing up in neighborhoods just hours after a storm is over.
If someone comes to your door, unsolicited, there are ways to check their credibility.
The BBB recommends the following:
- Check to see if the company is licensed and bonded
- Look for business logos/markings on the vehicle
- Check to see if the license plate is in, or out of state (Mansicalo says out of state is a red flag)
- Check with your county to see if the business is registered
- Ask for references
You can also look up a business, and its accreditations, on bbb.org.
"We have records for thousands and thousands of businesses out there, so that's a good thing to use," said Maniscalo.
After knocking on your door, Maniscalo says scammers will use "high pressure tactics" to get your money.
If you're in this situation, the BBB recommends:
- Taking your time / avoiding rash decisions
- Do not pay any money on the spot
- Take advantage of BBB resources
Along with bbb.org, you can also report scams on ScamTracker. The tool allows the BBB to investigate claims, and you can also see what scams are reported in your neighborhood.