Monday night Rockford and it's surrounding neighbors saw golf ball sized hail and soon it could possibly see fraudulent damage assessors (a.k.a scam artists) knocking on their doors. Do not be fooled by them.

These fraudulent damage assessors are often called "The Storm Chasers" and they're not good people. After Monday's storm you can bet they'll be in full swing preying on innocent people.

Here's how to know if you're dealing with a weather damage fraud and what to do.

Pete Polcher (Used by permission)[/caption]Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says there are three important things to remember when someone knocks on your door pitching concern about "the recent hail damage" and offering to assess and repair the damage.

  • Insurance adjusters and roofers must be licensed by state agencies.
  • Be wary of contractors who go door to door to offer repair services.
  • Never pay in cash.

If someone is going door to door in your neighborhood they're probably sketchy. Do not be rushed into making a decision on the spot. The IL Attorney General suggests asking friends and family for references or look for reputable local contractors for damage assessment and repair. You should also check a contractor's rating with Better Business Bureau.

The scam artists may seem legit but check to see if their business card matches their repair truck or the vehicle they arrived in. If you can't spot a vehicle they're likely a fraud.

If the contractor does not have a required license, or if the name on the license doesn’t match the name on the contractor’s business card or truck, that should raise a red flag. Please visit the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s website to search licenses. Contact the Department of Insurance at (866) 445-5364 to verify that the public adjuster is licensed and in good standing.

When you believe you have come to a decision on who will repair your home's damage consider these four tips from provided by IL Attorney General's office.

  • Get all of the terms of a contract in writing, and obtain a copy of the signed contract.
  • Never make full payment until all the work has been completed to your satisfaction.
  • Be aware that you have the right to cancel a contract within three business days if you signed it based on the contractor’s visit to your home.
  • In the case of disaster repair, you have an additional right to cancel. If your insurance carrier denies coverage, you have the right to cancel the contract within five days of when your insurance carrier denies your coverage.

Also, there is the Illinois Home Repair and Remodeling Act, which states the following:

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.”

If you believe someone is might be a fraud or if you were a victim of this scam contact call the Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Hotline in Chicago (800)386-5438.

[H/T Illinois Attorney General]


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