Florida Department of Financial services Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is among the many public officials urging Floridians to be diligent when vetting and hiring post-hurricane contractors.
According to a recent press release from his office, the top indicators of storm-related contractor fraud may include:
- A contractor or restoration professional who offered to waive or discount your insurance deductible.
- A contractor or restoration professional that has received payment and has failed to provide any repairs to your home.
- A contractor or restoration professional who offered to provide repairs at a cash-only discounted rate and has failed to provide repairs to your home.
- A contractor or restoration professional who pressured you to sign an Assignment of Benefits (AOB) and has failed to provide any repairs to your home or stopped responding to your contact attempts.
Other possible signs that the roofing company you are talking to is not legitimate include:
- They are trying to solicit business by going door to door
- They won’t provide you with an official written estimate
- They are asking for an unusually high down payment. Most companies ask for a down payment that’s equal to or slightly above the materials costs
- They are using high-pressure sales tactics
“Following the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian, scam artists will be working overtime to defraud individuals in their time of need,” Patronis said, adding that the Division of Investigative and Forensic Services (DIFS) will deploy six Anti-Fraud Strike Teams to protect vulnerable residents from fraud.
Two anti-fraud teams have been deployed to the Orlando and Tampa areas with an additional two teams each for the Charlotte and Lee County areas to follow. Each team consists of six fraud officers working to educate and inform the public on signs of fraud and to ensure contractors are following all applicable Florida laws while conducting repairs. The teams will also track leads to open cases and bring fraudsters to justice.
“Nearly 40 fraud officers to be on the lookout for bad actors trying to make a quick buck off of the victims of this storm,” he continued. “We want to eliminate any incentives for illegal acts and that’s why our team is in the community to deter any fraudulent activity. Let me be clear – if you attempt to defraud Floridians following Hurricane Ian – you will be caught and you will be thrown in jail. Consumers impacted by these storms must be on guard for fraud. Do not feel pressured to sign anything without doing your research first.”
Do you need help with roof repair or roof replacement after Hurricane Ian? We can help. Call our office today to speak with a local expert.