Women and elderly prime prey for repair ripoffs

November storms ravaged areas of the Midsouth. In Tipton County, 33 homes were destroyed more than 270 were damaged. Weeks later, the repair work in Covington is far from complete. Contractor Brian Buckley has completed two roofing jobs thus far and is almost finished replacing a third. And while misfortune can bring a community closer together, Buckley knows it also brings scam artists. "It seems like everybody in the past has always been burned by a contractor and they'll say that person put the "con" in contractor of course" says Buckley. All too often single women and the elderly are considered easy prey after tragedy strikes. But there are ways to protect yourself from a home repair scam. "Ask for some references," says Buckley. "That's the biggest thing, find out who they worked for before find out if those people were happy." And pry a little, don't be afraid to ask lots of questions. A reputable company won't be afraid to answer them. "If they have a license if they have insurance if they're bonded there are so many factors that you want to be careful, do a little research before you actually hire somebody to come out." Buckley says. It's a little research that can save you a lot of money and protect you from becoming a victim of a repair rip off. What should you expect to pay a roofer before the repair work begins? Buckley says if you're waiting for a check from your insurance company a roofer might not ask for any money up front, unless it a really big job. Buckley says if a repair estimate exceeds 10, 000 in costs, its normal for a contractor to ask for around 30 percent up front so that they can purchase some of the materials.