BBB issues response in aftermath of deadly KY tornadoes; warns of storm chasers
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - BBB serving Louisville, Southern Indiana, and Western Kentucky warns of storm-chasing scammers in the aftermath of the deadly tornadoes and storms that struck Kentucky and other states Friday night.
While many Kentuckians have opened their hearts and stepped up to donate funds, necessities, and services to those devasted by the storms, there is an increased potential of out-of-town storm chasers looking to take advantage of victims as they begin the long process of cleaning up and rebuilding. BBB warns Kentucky residents affected by the storms to beware of these scammers.
“Our hearts go out to those who have been affected by the deadly tornadoes,” says Reanna Smith-Hamblin, BBB President and CEO. " It’s just a matter of time now that scammers will prey on victims.” Smith-Hamblin says scam artists come out of the woodwork during a victim’s most vulnerable times. “BBB is here to help guide you through these difficult times so you don’t get scammed.”
BBB offers the following tips for tornado and storm victims:
• Know your rights and responsibilities as provided by the state Attorney General. Kentucky residents can contact the Kentucky Attorney General’s office at ag.ky.gov or call 502.696.5300.
• Businesses must be licensed. Contact the Revenue Commission at 502.574.4860 to check out a company’s licensure.
• Many municipalities require a solicitation permit if salespeople go door-to-door. Verify that they need to have a permit by contacting your local Township or Municipality or call Permits & Licensing at 502.574.3321
• While most roofing contractors abide by the law, be careful allowing someone you do not know to inspect your roof. An unethical contractor may actually create damage to get work.
• Try to get at least 3-4 quotes from contractors, and insist that payments be made to the company, not an individual.
• Do not pay for the job in advance. Be wary of any contractor who demands full or half payment upfront.
• Resist high-pressure sales tactics, such as the “good deal” you’ll get only if you hire the contractor on the spot.
• Get a written contract that specifies the price, the work to be done, the amount of liability insurance coverage maintained by the contractor, and a time frame. Require a copy of their current certificate of insurance.
• For general questions or complaints related to insurance, contact your state’s Department of Insurance. Kentucky residents can visit insurance.ky.gov or call 502.564.3630.
• Pay by credit card, if possible; you may have additional protection if there’s a problem.
• If you suspect a company may be price gouging necessary goods or services due to this disaster, report the business to BBB and the Attorney General’s office.
• Beware of FEMA imposters. In the past, scammers impersonate FEMA to try to scam consumers. Remember that FEMA does not charge for inspections and they always wear ID badges. If you are still unsure, check with FEMA first at fema.gov or call 202.646.2500.
BBB is also warning area contractors to beware of storm chasers who are willing to pay local construction company’s substantial amounts of money to use a local business’s established name, reputation, and phone so they can masquerade as a local business. Many contractors who agreed to let these storm chasers use their name regret their decision once they were left holding the bag of unsatisfied customers due to bad workmanship and/or unfulfilled warranties.
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2020, people turned to BBB more than 220 million times for BBB Business Profiles on 6.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at BBB.org. The International Association of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico. BBB Serving Louisville, Southern Indiana, and Western Kentucky was founded in 1916 and serves 44 counties in Kentucky and 8 counties in Southern Indiana.
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