One of the untold costs associated with disasters are those losses due to fraud. Often "fly-by-night" contractors appear in communities right after a disaster and further victimize the victims by swindling them out of their precious and often limited resources by offering cheap and quick repair work. Here's a warning from home builders that may save you from another disaster: unscrupulous contractors.
Some signs that a contractor could be trying to take advantage of you:
• You're told that on this job, a contract "won't be necessary."
• You're asked to pay for the entire job "up front" - or pay cash to a salesperson instead of a check or money order to a company.
• You are confronted with scare tactics, intimidation or threats.
• You're told you've been "chosen" as a demonstration project at a special, low price.
• You're told a "special" low price is good only if you sign a contract today.
• The contractor won't give you reference - or the references can't be located.
• You can't verify the contractor's business address or license.
Find a contractor by contacting your local home builders association:
Verify Contractor License:
Federal Emergency Management Agency Flood Resources:
• Consumer guidelines - http://www.fema.gov/hazard/flood/fl_after.shtm
• FEMA Rebuilding Resources - http://www.fema.gov/rebuild/recover/resources.shtm
• Fixing Flood Damaged Property - http://www.fema.gov/hazard/flood/coping.shtm
American Red Cross:
• Disaster Online Newsroom - http://newsroom.redcross.org/
• Flood Checklist - http://www.redcross.org/www-files/Documents/pdf/Preparedness/checklists/Flood.pdf
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Disaster Resources:
DisasterAssistance.gov - U.S. Government web portal that consolidates disaster assistance information:
Georgia Emergency Management Agency:
U.S. Small Business Administration:
• Disaster Assistance for Homeowners and Renters - http://www.sba.gov/idc/groups/public/documents/sba_homepage/serv_sbp_bro_4.pdf
• Disaster Assistance for Businesses - http://www.sba.gov/idc/groups/public/documents/sba_homepage/serv_da_dprep_factsheethome.pdf
National Flood Insurance Program:
Information provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the American Red Cross and the Newton County Home Builders Association.