BBB warns Mid-South homeowners of storm cleanup scams

BBB warns Mid-Southerners of storm chasers

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Natural disasters, like the twisters that touched down in the Mid-South this past weekend, often show the best of humanity, with people stepping up to help those in need.

But disasters can also bring out another kind of person, who Nancy Crawford with the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South calls "storm chasers."

"They generally follow the weather,” said Crawford.

Mississippi Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann tours storm damage in Lewisburg

But she says these "storm chasers” aren’t into studying storms or trying to photograph them. They’re only interested in money and taking advantage of victims during their vulnerable state.

“People are in an emotional state. Their home is damaged or destroyed. They're looking for somebody to come in, step up and help them,” said Crawford.

Crawford said scammers may show up on someone’s doorstep offering to remove fallen trees or fix a fence, roof or car.

Before hiring anyone, Crawford said it’s important for storm victims to check out anyone who shows up offering their services.

"So, look at the vehicle. Does it have company signage? Does it have in-state license plates? Or is it from another area?" said Crawford.

Crawford said “storm chasers” are often from outside the area.

She suggests asking for a business card that has a physical address and a first and last name. She said to look up local and state requirements and make sure the person you’re hiring is properly licensed.

Also, she said it’s a good idea to get recommendations from family and friends and get everything in writing.

For more ways to keep yourself from being scammed, go to BBB.org/storm.

Copyright 2020 WMC. All rights reserved.