Metro-East News

Madigan warns residents of repair fraud, scams after storm

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan warned residents Wednesday of possible storm-related repair scams.

In a statement, Madigan cautioned that scammers “move quickly into communities to take advantage of people with damage to their homes or businesses.”

She wrote that not only should people be aware of scams and frauds, but also service people referred to as “storm chasers.” These businesses swoop in at a time of crisis to pressure people into more expensive repair and purchase decisions.

“As people assess damage and begin to clean up the devastation left by the storms, it is critical to be aware that scam artists may be targeting residents and businesses with repair scams,” Madigan said in the warning. “I encourage residents and business owners to be cautious before hiring contractors they do not know, particularly if those individuals are soliciting door-to-door.”

The attorney general also noted that scam artists may claim to be insurance adjusters or public adjusters.

She suggested residents contact their local governments for more information about permits or other local requirements for contractors — who do not have to be licensed through the state.

She noted that insurance adjusters must be licensed by the Illinois Department of Insurance and roofers must be licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

She also offered a list of tips for home and business owners seeking construction and repair work.

Madigan people should call local law enforcement agencies and her office’s Consumer Fraud Hotline — 1-800-243-0618 in Springfield and 1-800-243-0607 in Carbondale — to report suspicious activity.