Experts Warn of Storm Chasing Scammers


Local residents are still dealing with Wednesday’s storms. Not just cleaning up the mess behind, but many homes suffering with serious roof damage from the high winds and wind-blown debris.  Dennis Horton, Better Business Bureau Regional Director, says distraught homeowners are vulnerable to scammers who want to fill their pockets with their money. Scam artists quickly going door to door soliciting roofing and home repair services.

“Any time there is severe weather storm chasers follow it,” said Horton. “They know, very often times, that  people are desperate to get repairs made and sometimes will act without thinking.”

Horton says the scammers try to get homeowners to sign a contract giving them the capability to talk to their insurance companies. However, Randy Palmeri, Contractor for Palmeri and Sons Inc., says its not necessary.

“There’s no reason to sign anything.  You’re not signing a contract with anyone even though you think you are,” said Palmeri.

The Better Business Bureau says most scammers will try to use sales tactics to force a signature on the contract and receive payment upfront.

“They will tell you that I’m working with your insurance company and that they can get you the best deal from your insurance company which isn’t the case,” said Horton.

Horton says there has already been one reported case in the Stateline area.  A resident paid the contractor in advanced, but never saw the contractor again and didn’t receive a signed contract in return. Roofing and contracting businesses,  like, Palmeri and Sons, see thousands of dollars in repairs to botched jobs by the storm chaser scammers.

However, Horton says there are ways to avoid falling victim to these scams.  He says residents should take note of the contractor’s vehicle by their markings and license plates.  They should be wary. Residents should also, insist on getting various quotes from the company for their service. Finally, it is imperative to ask for a contract that lists the price and work to be done and time.  These contracts can be broken three days after the sign date.

Better business bureau officials say, its best to take a decisive and rational approach to repairing your home.

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