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Scams Being Reported By BBB After Ice Storm

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Scams Being Reported By BBB After Ice Storm

Home owners do not let your guard down. The aftermath of a storm is when scammers come looking for victims.

Three different scams have been reported by the Better Business Bureau: impostor scams, storm chaser scammers and false charities. Middle Tennessee President Robyn Householder said the best way to avoid getting tricked is to do your homework.

“The biggest thing to avoid getting taken advantage of is to take your time,” Householder said. “Get the quote, read through it, don’t make quick decisions. If a contractor is pressuring you to decide on the spot, that is when you need to walk away. The other thing you want to be careful of is door to door activity. This is not the time to do business with a stranger.”

Householder said the BBB has seen a significant uptick in residents seeking contractors since last week’s ice storm. The need for contractors has increased by 19% and plumbers by 137%. Householder said this has caused a shortage in reputable businesses.

“Definitely consumers have a high need right now, and they are trying to ensure that they deal with businesses that are reputable and that they are going to take good care of them,” Householder said. “The down side of those reputable organizations right now is that they are incredibly busy. So, what we need consumers to do is be patient and to not take that great offer that might come to them unsolicited.”

Householder said the BBB always recommends getting three estimates and references before hiring. Householder said other good practices are getting the contract in writing, never pay fully up front and use a credit card for payment.

“Try not to pay in cash,” Householder said. “Make sure if you do, write a check. Write the company’s name on it. Don’t ever give them one that is out to an individual. That could be problematic.”

Here is more advice from Householder and the BBB for Upper Cumberland residents.

  • Watch out for charity name confusion. Be alert to questionable groups seeking to confuse donors with names that sound similar to charities you know.
  • Resist pressure to give on the spot. Don’t give in to excessive pressure on the phone to make an immediate donation.
  • Research and gather information. Search for a contractor’s Business Profile at for free information on their history of complaints, read verified Customer Reviews, and see if they are an Accredited Business.
  • Contact your insurance company. Ask about your policy coverage and specific filing requirements. Save all receipts, including those for food, temporary lodging, or other expenses that may be covered under your policy. Your insurance company may also have recommended contractors.
  • Don’t sign over insurance checks to contractors. Get an invoice from the contractor and pay them directly (preferably with a credit card, which offers additional fraud protection over other forms of payment). Don’t sign any documents that give the contractor any rights to your insurance claims. If you have questions, contact your insurance company or agent.


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