--Avoid doing business with anyone who knocks on your door offering repairs.
--Always contact your insurance company before getting repairs done.
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.
--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
--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.
If you have roof damage
--Avoid roofers who knock on your door or leave you fliers. Local roofing companies don't look for work door-to-door, but drive-by roofers often try to drum up business that way. If you use out-of-town roofers, they may leave town without finishing or even starting the job. It will also be difficult if not impossible to get a roofer who isn't local to repair leaks or other problems in the future.
--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 include a deductible that you will have to pay out-of-pocket, and that homeowners who file large insurance claims, like a claim for a new roof, usually see their premiums increase.
--Beware if you're asked to sign an exclusive contract, making it impossible for you to hire a different roofer who offers to do the job for a lower price or who has a better reputation.
--Watch out for shoddy work and materials. Unlike local roofing companies, drive-by roofers don't have a reputation to protect, so their work is often poor quality and they may use substandard materials.
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 N.C.) and the
--Make sure the company is insured. If a tree removal service claims to have insurance, don't just take its word for it. Contact the insurer directly and ask to confirm insurance or send you a copy of the tree removal service's certificate of insurance.
--Find a fair price. Be skeptical of unusually high or low prices. To find out the going rate for tree removal, get written estimates from more than one company and ask friends and neighbors what they've paid.
--Don't let anyone rush you. If an offer is only good now or never, find someone else to do the job. And if the tree isn't on your house or blocking your driveway, you may be better off waiting a few days or weeks to have it removed.
--Ask about debris removal. Will the company remove the tree from your property after they cut it down? If not, you may wind up having to pay separately for debris removal.
For Attorney General
A native of
"We're getting reports and are deeply concerned about lives, first, and also property and crops throughout eastern
STORM DAMAGE SITES
Deputies escorted Woodard and Cooper to
A 1999 Porsche Boxster reported stolen from Bailey on Sunday morning was found half-sunken in the flooded shoulder along
Cooper said Matthew could claim more lives and damage more property this week as flooded rivers and creeks reach their crest.
"We have to make sure that our rescue teams are ready to assist anyone in need," Cooper said. "I think all officials are telling people to evacuate any low-lying areas that could have the potential for flooding. It could possibly be worse, and unfortunately here in eastern
"We have to do everything we can to make sure the damage is as small as possible and begin recovery efforts as quickly as possible."
Cooper, a Democrat challenging Republican Gov.
BEWARE STORM SCAMS
Cooper is working to warn eastern
"Unfortunately, we've already had reports of some scam artists who take advantage of situations like this," he said. "I was talking with officials at
"This is a prime time for scam artists who take your money up front for repairs or tree removal and then just leave," he said. "Unfortunately, we've seen that time and again after storms, so we're putting the word out to tell people to be extremely careful. Do not pay money up front. Call your insurance company, because many insurance companies require you to report it so they can come and take pictures and assess damages."
Cooper said the state price-gouging law is in effect, though no complaints of Hurricane Matthew-related gouging had been received on Saturday or Sunday.
As the water recedes, those concerned about their neighbors' plight may be solicited to make cash donations to individuals claiming to represent disaster relief charities. Cooper urges residents to investigate those requests and ensure aid dollars are directed to reputable groups.
"This is a time when you see scam artists come out soliciting for bogus charities," he said. "We encourage people to give, because a lot of people are going to need help, but make sure that you give to established charities and know where your money's going."
Storm-related scams can be reported to the
email@example.com -- 265-7813
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