Chamber: Beware of fraud following Hurricane Florence

LAURINBURG — As Laurinburg and Scotland County begin to recover from significant flooding and damage caused by Hurricane Florence, the Laurinburg/Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce encourages residents to know their rights as consumers and to be on the lookout for common frauds and schemes that take advantage of people affected by natural disasters.

Residents can contact the Chamber at 910-276-7420 or the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org to find out about companies that may not do quality work for our home or business. Everyone is encouraged to keep copies of as much documentation as possible.

Home repair companies will arrive at disaster sites in response to the high demand for their services resulting from widespread property damage. Often disreputable companies hoping to make easy money are among them. They may require you to pay them before doing the work, do a shoddy job, or add extra costs throughout the job.

To avoid being taken advantage of in this way, follow these tips:

— Work with contractors you know or local firms with roots in the community.

— Ask people you trust for contractor referrals.

— Ask the contractor for references and check them.

— Verify the contractor’s license status and check on any complaints with the NC Board for Contractors at nclbgc.org or call 919-571-4183.

— Get written estimates from several firms.

— Do not do business without a written contract. Be sure that all guarantees, promises, and details are in writing.

— Do not pay large sums in advance and never make final payment until all work is completed to your satisfaction.

— Be extra cautious when a contractor comes to your door soliciting your business, offers you discounts for finding other customers, or “just happens to have” materials left over from a previous job

Anyone with questions or need to request additional information, contact the Chamber office at 910-276-7420.