BBB warns homeowners of flooding scams

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Saturday, February 7, 2015
Snow in Oswego, Ill. Main Street on Feb. 1.
Courtesy ABC7 viewer.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- This weekend's warmer temperatures and resulting snow melt may create flooding emergencies for homeowners, which in turn brings out scammers looking to take advantage the Better Business Bureau warns.

To help protect themselves, the BBB recommends that homeowners request bids from two or three different contractor companies, base all bids on the same criteria and don't automatically pick the lowest bid.

Steve Bernas, president and CEO of Chicago's BBB, also cautions homeowners to never sign a blank or partially blank check.

"Make sure all oral promises are put in writing," Bernas says. "Be wary of vaguely worded provisions, exclusions or limitations which could pose a problem later. In Illinois a contract is required for all repairs totaling more than $1,000."

Bernas says a down payment of one-third the total contract price is typical. Additional payments may be due after the completion of each phase of work. Final payment should not be made until the job is completed and work has been inspected.

For more tips on scams, visit