|For Immediate Release
Sept. 12, 2017
|Contact: Whitney Doll
Head off contractor fraud following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma
How to avoid getting scammed by shady contractors delivering a disaster of their own
Washington, D.C. – Disasters can bring out the best in people. In the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, we have seen ordinary citizens helping evacuate people and rescue pets, sending money and supplies to help those who lost everything, and assisting neighbors in the task of damage assessment and starting the cleanup process. The aftermath of a natural disaster and the process of rebuilding unfortunately brings out its own set of "bad actors" in the form of exploitative contractors looking to make fast money off vulnerable people rebuilding homes following major disasters like Harvey and Irma.
Contractor fraud typically refers to the practice of individuals appearing to be contractors soliciting business from homeowners whose property suffered severe damage during a natural disaster. Rather than making the agreed-upon repairs, the individual claiming to be a contractor instead simply takes the money and then either makes shoddy, incomplete repairs or disappears altogether.
Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, more than 1,300 people were prosecuted for contractor fraud, according to U.S. Department of Justice information. Homeowners flooded in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma should be vigilant when looking for contractors, remodelers and builders when they start rebuilding their homes. After a natural disaster, many cities experience an influx of out-of-town contractors, or so-called "storm chasers." Some are shady crews looking to take advantage of local residents desperate to restore their homes quickly.
The International Code Council offers the following information to educate homeowners on how contractor fraud occurs, what to watch out for to avoid being scammed and help curtail the amount of construction fraud that could occur in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
About the International Code Council