SCAM ALERT: Winter storm damage clean up leads to contractor scams

Published: Feb. 25, 2021 at 7:19 PM CST
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DENISON, Texas (KXII) - With any natural disaster, clean up comes after and in Texoma, many residents are trying to get their lives back to normal after the winter storm.

Experts say damages like this often leave an opportunity for people to take advantage.

Denison city building inspector Kirk Kern says he’s been busy, after residents in town experienced damages to their pipes and walls.

“Never pay someone ahead of time,” said Jason Earnhart. “If they don’t have the money to go buy the materials, then where are they going to be when they need to do the warranty stuff?”

Earnhart is known around the Denison community for his construction work. He says he’s witnessed contractor scams first hand.

“Plumber said $7,000, and this one said $20,000, and it was because the other one was doing way more things that weren’t necessary, so they’re really just trying to rip them off” Earnhart said.

Tips experts say beware of these red flags:

  • Any contractor who asks for payment in advance
  • Overly aggressive to get you to sign without thoroughly inspecting the damage
  • If they try and convince you that more than a simple repair is needed
  • State license plates; They may not be licensed to work on your home.

“After any disaster, when it’s time for the clean up, there will be contractors that take advantage of people” said Better Business Bureau Spokeswoman Monica Horton.

“We’re going to try and help them in the best way we can, and part of that is making sure licensed contractors are doing the work, because you don’t know who’s coming in off the street” said Kern.

Kern says there’s options available for residents to avoid paying a permit fee.

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