June 24, 2016
MADIGAN WARNS RESIDENTS TO BE ON ALERT FOR STORM-RELATED REPAIR SCAMS
Chicago — Following severe thunderstorms and tornadoes across north central Illinois Wednesday evening, Attorney General Lisa Madigan today warned residents in impacted areas to be on alert for scammers looking to exploit home and business owners seeking repairs due to storm-related damage.
Madigan cautioned Illinois residents that scammers may quickly move into communities hit hard by storms and tornadoes to take advantage of people with damage to their homes or businesses. Madigan noted these “storm chasers” use the opportunity to pressure people into making quick, and often expensive, decisions about cleanup and construction work.
General contractors are not required by state law to be licensed, but municipalities may require permits. Home and business owners should check with their local governments for more information about permits or other local requirements.
Madigan encouraged local residents and business owners to call local law enforcement agencies and her office’s Consumer Fraud Hotline (1-800-386-5438 in Chicago or 1-800-243-0618 in Springfield) to report any suspicious activity.
“As cleanup efforts begin throughout the affected areas, home and business owners should keep an eye out for scammers who will attempt to use recovery efforts for their personal gain,” Madigan said.
Madigan offered the following tips to help protect families and businesses from dishonest contractors:
Madigan also reminded consumers that the Illinois Home Repair and Remodeling Act requires contractors to provide customers with written contracts for any repair or remodeling work costing more than $1,000. A contract must be signed by both the customer and the contractor. The law also requires contractors to carry at least the minimum amounts of insurance for property damage, bodily injury and improper home repair. Contractors also must provide consumers with an informational pamphlet entitled “Home Repair and Construction: Know Your Rights.”