Hurricane Matthew flooded homes and businesses, ripped off roofs and sent tree through walls and across driveways. Unfortunately, home repair scammers are trying to profit off the damage.
One group approached a senior in Raleigh and tried to pressure him to pay more than $1,500 upfront to remove downed trees. Fortunately his family intervened to stop the scam and report it to our office and local law enforcement.
If you need help fixing or cleaning up your home after Matthew, learn how to find quality contractors and avoid fly-by-night scammers who follow storms.
With all storm repairs:
Don’t pay for repairs before the work is done.
Avoid doing business with anyone who knocks on your door offering repairs.
Always contact your insurance company before getting repairs done.
Remember that FEMA does not certify, endorse or approve contractors.
Report storm-related scams to the Attorney General’s Office at ncdoj.gov or 1-877-5-NO-SCAM (919-716-6000 if calling from an out-of-state number). If you suspect that someone who shows up at your home is trying to commit fraud, call local law enforcement immediately.
See below specific tips if you have flood damage, roof damage and downed trees, and get additional tips on storm repairs at our website, ncdoj.gov.
If you have flood damage:
Don’t pay in advance for flood repair and cleanup. Scammers who collect upfront payments may set up a fan or remove a wet carpet and then take off before the real work is done.
Get required permits and inspections. Flood repairs are likely to require permits and inspections by city or county officials. Check with your local government to learn more.
Use licensed experts. Water damage often requires work by licensed electricians, plumbers and other skilled contractors. Check to make sure you’re dealing with someone who is really licensed.
For electricians, check ncbeec.org or 919-733-9042
For plumbers and HVAC experts, check nclicensing.org or 919-875-3612
For general contractors, check nclbgc.org or 919-571-4183
If you have roof damage:
Avoid roofers who knock on your door or leave you flyers. Local roofing companies don’t look for work door-to-door, but drive-by roofers often try to drum up business that way. Beware of out-of-town roofers who may take money and then leave town without finishing or even starting the job.
Watch out for storm chasers -- roofing scammers who visit or call hard-hit neighborhoods after a storm and offer to inspect your roof. These scammers nearly always find that your roof needs to be replaced, even when it doesn’t.
Be skeptical of promises of a free roof. Storm chasers claim that they can help get your new roof paid for in full by your homeowner’s insurance policy. These roofers fail to mention that many insurance policies require you to pay a deductible out-of-pocket, and that filing a large claim is likely to make your premiums rise.
If you have downed trees:
Never pay upfront for tree removal. Out-of-state tree cutters have been known to collect deposits from entire neighborhoods and then disappear without performing any work. Only pay when the work is done and you are satisfied.
Avoid fly-by-night tree removal services that come to town after the storm. Stick with local tree removal companies that are more likely to stay and finish the job.
Check out the company with our Consumer Protection Division (1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free within NC) and the Better Business Bureau. Ask the company for local references, and look at online reviews.