Scammers often target Florida homeowners battered by storm damage

After a storm has ripped through Tampa, they come out looking for their prey. They’re not snakes or alligators, but rather scammers who pretend to be contractors eager to help homeowners with roof damage, or needed repairs to plumbing, windows, floors, walls and more.

According to a news report from a Jacksonville radio station, the scammers were recently out in search of distressed homeowners. A few days ago, the area was hit hard by severe storms and tornadoes.

The local chapter of the Better Business Bureau warns that the scammers pretend to be contractors ready, willing and able to do needed home repairs. They often focus on three main types of repairs, said the president of the Better Business Bureau: roofing, trees and restoration of water supply.

The BBB president said the scammers’ prey is homeowners scrambling to ensure that damage to their property doesn’t make a structure uninhabitable or ruinously expensive. “I don’t know how they (fake contractors) sleep at night, I really don’t,” he said.

He urges anyone facing storm damage repairs to take a few self-protecting steps before hiring a contractor you might not know: check their business license online; call the Better Business Bureau for a review of the company or individual; check that the contractor has current, valid insurance and confirm that with the listed insurance company.

As you might expect, that will likely not be your only contact with an insurer. If you file a claim for storm damage coverage, you might well have your legitimate claim rejected. When that happens, you can contact a Tampa attorney experienced in bad faith matters and denied insurance claims.