CHICAGO (WLS) -- The ABC7 I-Team has learned that roofers and contractors are calling homeowners unexpectedly and asking if they can come look at their homes after the recent storms.
The Better Business Bureau says this could be an attempt from untrustworthy companies to take your money and run.
After major storms hit, there are two things that many homeowners have to deal with. The first is rebuilding, especially in neighborhoods hardest hit by the recent severe weather in our area. The second is storm chasers - not the ones that actually chase storms - but roofers and contractors going door-to-door, trying to convince you to work with them and pay fast.
"It's like clockwork," said Steve Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau. "The scammers come out of the woodwork in spring, and especially after the storms that we just had recently."
But Bernas and the Better Business Bureau have a new warning for consumers. He said roofers and contractors are cold-calling homeowners and offering to come by their home for a free estimate.
Bernas said the startling calls are all part of a tactic to swindle you out of money, and some folks are falling for it because they've got damage and they want it fixed immediately.
"That's right, and the scammer knows that," Bernas warned. "They want immediate access to you."
In some cases, Bernas says that when a homeowners asks the caller how they got their number, they'll say they got it via public records. In other cases, they might say they're calling from some governmental agency or they happen to be in the area, or they're calling from an insurance company.
Here's what homeowners can do to protect themselves:
- First, Bernas says to do you research: Find out if the company has a good track record online and check to see their rating with the BBB.
- Next, have a written contract with all of the terms included in writing.
- Third, never pay for the entire project up front.
Instead, Bernas said, "It's usually a third in the beginning, a third at the middle and a third at the end."
Bernas added to never pay in cash - a credit card is always best- and if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Have a consumer problem you want the I-Team to investigate? Call Sam at 312-750-7TIP or submit your story using the form below.