Lake County Sheriff’s Office Alerts Residents and Businesses to Take Precautions Against Flood Scams, Door-to-Door Criminals

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office has posted a statement reminding Lake County residents of the increased risk of scammers attempting to capitalize on those impacted by flooding.

One of the recommendations of the sheriff’s office is that residents take photographs of your contractor and any work vehicles. The Cardinal recommends you use discretion in capturing contractor images. You may decide to be straightforward with the contractor and make notification that you want to document the work for your insurance. Alternatively, you may want to use cellphone video, still shots, fixed security video systems in a way that you can secretly capture vehicle information, license plates, etc. without being confrontational. If you feel uncomfortable asking the contractor for images related to the repair business and repair work, you might consider that an alert to yourself that the contractor may be a scammer.

The Lake County Sheriff’s office posted the following tips on the sheriff’s office official Facebook page …

Often, in times of natural disaster there is an increase in door-to-door criminals attempting to solicit fraudulent business. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Lake County Emergency Operations Center have seen an increase in inquiries from the community who feel they may have fallen prey to one of these scams.

 SAFETY TIPS … 

Some safety tips include:

• Check with the Better Business Bureau and your insurance company to determine the credibility of the service provider.

• Do not let anybody inside of your home, unless you have initiated the appointment.

• Obtain several (three or more) estimates for repair work.

• Take photographs of your contractor and any work vehicles.

• Before work begins, obtain a written contract.

• If you see or detect anything suspicious, contact your local law enforcement agency.

Sheriff Mark Curran said, “Scammers target the vulnerable and with the devastating impacts we’ve seen from the flooding, they will likely be out in force. Remember, check with your local village, township, or insurance company to verify the credibility of the service provider. Please pass this information along to any family or friends who have been impacted by the flooding.”

 FEMA TIPS … 

FEMA recommended the following tips after flooding in Louisiana in 2016 …

• Verify the license or registration number with the state licensing board.

• Get three written estimates for repair work. Then check credentials and contact your local Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce to learn about any complaints against the contractor or business.

• Before work begins, make sure you get a written contract detailing all the work to be performed, the costs, a projected completion date, and how to negotiate changes and settle disputes.

• Photo instructions

Take a picture of your contractor, his/her vehicle, and its license plate.

Take a picture of the contractor’s business card and his/her driver’s license.

Photograph or scan his/her contracting license and insurance.

Photograph or scan the contract made with him/her.

Photograph or scan all checks and money orders made as payments to the contractor.

Preserve all these photographs by emailing them to yourself and a trusted companion and/or by saving them in a cloud-based application.

FEMA also alerts people during flooding disasters that charity scams take many forms, including emails containing links or attachments that direct users to phishing or malware-infected websites. Donation requests from fraudulent charitable organizations commonly appear after major natural disasters.

See more …
lakecountyil.gov/flood

FEMA News Release NR-020 August 29, 2016




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