August 31, 2017Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas Coast as a category 5 hurricane and lingered on for days pouring down rain and causing major damage through wind, tornados and flooding. Our hearts go out to everyone in Texas affected during this terrible event, and as a part of the Houston community AAA Credit Screening Services knows that we are strong and will rebuild in record time!
Unfortunately with major destructive events such as this storm, many repairs will have to be made to homes, businesses and infrastructure. Property owners will be desperate to get everything repaired as soon as possible and may fall victim to scammers or "storm chasers" coming in from all over the country to provide their services. Some of these companies are legitimate, licensed businesses that will provide great repairs and help property owners through the process, BUT unfortunately there will also be a LOT of scammers trying to take advantage of property owners.
Some tell-tale signs of scammers and suggestions on what to look for:
- THEY contacted you - Some may show up to your door unannounced, they may even state that your insurance company sent them. If you haven't contacted your insurance yet, you have to know that this is a lie.
- If you have contacted a contractor, you should of course know the name of the company, so if they give you an unfamiliar name, don't let them in
- If you have contacted your insurance, this company should have your claim number. Ask them to confirm it.
- If still in doubt, call your insurance and ask if they sent them.
- They will try to BAIT you - They will offer large sums of money in the form of prizes or loans, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is! We all know no one gives away something for nothing
- They want your PERSONAL INFORMATION - DO NOT provide anyone personal information such as your Social Security Number, Bank Account Information, etc. This includes Insurance information, many companies will do a minor repair (such as putting a tarp on your roof) with the promise of coming back later to make the permanent repair and will claim the whole roof repair job against your insurance! If your insurance pays, you are out the necessary money to make the real repairs if they are in the wind
- They want you to wire or Airborne money to them rather than mailing it - They are clearly trying to avoid still federal penalties for mail fraud - DO NOT send them any money!
- Nationwide Criminal Background Checks (on individuals)
- Business License Search
- Business Credit Reports (providing credit record and other insight about their business practices)
If You Need Help
- Disaster Assistance
- Texas Disaster Unemployment Assistance
- Red Cross
- Texas Attorney General - Information on Scammers