Now that the winds have died down and the rain has passed, officials don’t want residents to become prey for scammers who may claim to clean up the mess last weekend’s storms left behind.
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office released a statement Tuesday warning Florida residents of possible scams.
After the damaging storms, individuals may try to prey on the affected, according to the release.
The Attorney General’s Office recommends taking the following steps to avoid becoming the victim of a scam:
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- Be wary of anyone who approaches unsolicited offering tree removal or property repairs
- Get multiple written estimates. Ask if debris removal is included in the estimate as well.
- Research the company and its reputation. The Better Business Bureau can see if there are complaints filed against the company.
- Contact the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation to verify if the contractors or tree service companies are licensed.
- Check for proof of insurance and verify with the insurer that the policy is current.
- Do not pay in advance or make a final payment until completely satisfied with the work.
Consumers can report fraudulent activity by calling the Attorney General’s fraud hotline at 1(866) 9-NO-SCAM or by filing a complaint online at MyFloridaLegal.com.
“While there is not an official declared state of emergency in Florida due to the recent severe weather, affected consumers may still be targeted by scammers,” Bondi said in the release. “In many parts of our state, trees are uprooted, homes and businesses are damaged and contractors and tree removal services are in demand, making conditions ideal for scams.”