Per the myjournalcourier, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is warning Illinois residents who were affected by more record floods in the state this past week to beware of scammers moving into these flooded communities to exploit victims. Disaster proclamations were issued in 34 counties and according to the article, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency has already received multiple reports of these “storm chasers” moving into these towns and financially scamming people. Here’s the release from Raoul: “Record flooding has devastated river communities throughout Illinois, and it is critical that homeowners and business owners are on alert for scammers who will use the devastation left behind to line their pockets. I encourage people to contact my office or check with the Better Business Bureau to find out whether complaints have been made against a particular contractor, and to be wary of any individual who solicits home repair or insurance adjusting services door-to-door.”
One of the main scams these chasers use is to pretend they’re insurance brokers going around door to door offering people whose houses have been damaged by the floods advice on how they could best obtain money for quick repairs. However, as Kwame warns, these scammers work or receive a fee for the same housing repair companies they recommend to the victims. A few things Raoul advises to residents is to ask people calling themselves insurance adjusters if they can show their permits(which insurance adjusters are legally required to have), get estimates from multiple contractors before closing a deal, never pay in cash, and make sure you get a written obtained copy of the contract. This is because anyone entering a contract can cancel it within three business days if the contract was signed on the contractors visit to the home, which in the vast majority of these scams is usually the case. Raoul also told people who were victims of these scams or intended victims to call these customer fraud hotline numbers which the article nicely listed: 1-800-386-5438 (Chicago), 1-800-243-0618 (Springfield), and 1-800-243-0607 (Carbondale).
Laura Law Office advises those affected by scams to follow the AG’s advice. It is very sad that he even has to give that advice but it seems that natural disasters are some of the most opportune time for compassionless scammers to exploit people and possibly destroy their lives.