MADIGAN WARNS HOMEOWNERS TO BE ON ALERT FOR STORM-RELATED HOME REPAIR SCAMS
Chicago — Following last week’s severe storms, Attorney General Lisa Madigan today warned western Illinois residents to be on alert for home repair con artists looking to exploit homeowners and local businesses needing repairs due to storm-related damage.
Madigan cautioned Illinois residents that scammers may quickly move into communities hit hard by storms to take advantage of people with damage to their homes. Madigan noted that these “storm chasers” use the opportunity to pressure people into making impulsive, and often expensive, decisions about cleanup and construction work.
Investigators with Madigan’s office are working with officials in Cameron, IL and will be looking into complaints about contractors operating in the recently impacted areas. Contractors interested in working in Cameron must register at the Illinois Department of Transportation yard in nearby Monmouth, located at 710 180th Ave. Investigators will also be on hand in Watseka to provide assistance to local officials.
Madigan encouraged local residents and business owners to call local law enforcement agencies and her office’s Consumer Fraud Hotline (1-800-386-5438) to report any suspicious activity.
“These communities face a long recovery process,” Madigan said. “Unfortunately, there are individuals who will attempt to profit from the devastation left by the storms. I encourage residents to be on the alert for scammers trying to take advantage of them.”
Madigan offered the following tips to help protect families and businesses from dishonest contractors:
Madigan also reminded consumers that the Illinois Home Repair and Remodeling Act requires contractors to furnish 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 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: Know Your Consumer Rights.”
Madigan urged homeowners to contact her Consumer Fraud Hotlines to report being victimized by a home repair scheme or to learn tips for finding a reputable contractor: