MADIGAN WARNS HOMEOWNERS TO BE ON ALERT FOR FLOOD-RELATED HOME REPAIR SCAMS
Chicago — Following severe flooding in areas of downstate and southern Illinois, Attorney General Lisa Madigan today warned residents in impacted areas to be on alert for home repair con artists looking to exploit homeowners and local businesses that need repairs due to flood-related damage.
Madigan cautioned Illinois residents that scammers may quickly move into communities hit hard by flooding to take advantage of people with damage to their homes or businesses. Madigan noted that these "storm chasers" use the opportunity to pressure people into making quick, and often expensive, decisions about cleanup and construction work.
General contractors are not required by state law to be licensed; however, municipalities may require permits. Homeowners should check with their local governments for more information about permits or other local requirements.
Madigan encouraged local residents and business owners to call local law enforcement agencies and her office's Consumer Fraud Hotline (1-800-386-5438) to report any suspicious activity.
"As flood waters crest and begin to recede, home and business owners will face a daunting cleanup," said Madigan. "Unfortunately, it is important to be vigilant for scammers who will attempt to use recovery efforts for their own personal gain."
Madigan offered the following tips to help protect families and businesses from dishonest contractors:
Madigan also reminded consumers that the Illinois Home Repair and Remodeling Act requires contractors to furnish customers with written contracts for any repair or remodeling work costing more than $1,000. A contract must be signed by both the customer and the contractor. The law also requires contractors to carry at least minimum amounts of insurance for property damage, bodily injury and improper home repair. Contractors also must provide consumers with an informational pamphlet entitled "Home Repair and Construction: Know Your Rights."
Madigan urged homeowners and business owners to contact her Consumer Fraud Hotlines to report being victimized by a contractor or to learn tips for finding a reputable contractor: