Property owners rebuilding homes damaged or destroyed by natural disasters should be cautious of contractors seeking to take advantage of their misfortune.
Fraudulent Contractor Scams typically fall into two categories: Contractors working without a license and contractors – licensed or not – whose work is substandard or never completed.
Criminal penalties for either during a declared state of emergency are significantly higher. Unlicensed contractors who seek to repair property damaged by a natural disaster face fines of up to $10,000, three years in jail or both. Contractors convicted of defrauding a property owner or tenant for repairs to a structure damaged by a natural disaster can be fined up to $25,000.
Hire licensed and insured contractors. Check a contractor’s license status with the Contractors State License Board at cslb.ca.gov. Disaster victims may call the board’s hotline at (800) 962-1125.
Ask friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers for contractor recommendations.
Ask contractors to provide references.
Don’t hire contractors who ask for the entire payment up front.
Have a knowledgeable friend, relative or attorney review the repair contract before signing it.
Follow @LADAOffice on Twitter and Instagram for up-to-date news and use #FraudFriday
CREDIT: LA COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY