In the aftermath of the deadly thunderstorms that impacted the Southeast, Attorney General Pam Bondi is urging Floridians to be wary of storm-related scams and is offering tips to safeguard against potential scammers.
“While there is not an official declared state of emergency in Florida due to the recent severe weather, affected consumers may still be targeted by scammers,” said Attorney General Bondi. “In many parts of our state, trees are uprooted, homes and businesses are damaged and contractors and tree removal services are in demand, making conditions ideal for scams.”
After a severe and damaging storm, unscrupulous individuals will sometimes prey on those in distress. To safeguard against scams in the aftermath of a storm, consumers should follow these tips:
- Be wary of anyone who approaches unsolicited about property repairs or tree removal;
- Acquire multiple written estimates and ask whether debris removal is included in the estimate;
- Research the company and its reputation – ask for references and contact the Better Business Bureau to see if there are complaints against the company;
- Verify that the contractors or tree service companies are licensed by contacting the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation;
- Check for proof of insurance and verify with the insurer that their policy is current; and
- Never pay up front or make final payment until completely satisfied with repairs.
Consumers can report fraudulent activity by calling the Attorney General’s fraud hotline at 1(866) 9-NO-SCAM or by filing a complaint online at MyFloridaLegal.com.