SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Many homes in the Sacramento area were left in shambles following severe rain and wind damage from the recent storms.
Experts are warning homeowners to make sure they are hiring the right person for repairs — before giving them money.
“They’ve already been victimized by a natural disaster, we don’t want them to be victimized again,” Natalie Watmore, with the California Contractors State License Board, said.
Watmore said the weeks and months following massive storm damage are often a feeding frenzy for scammers, who are looking to get one over on homeowners.
“Homes falling apart after natural disasters does shine a light on these areas for unlicensed and unscrupulous contractors,” Watmore said.
If your home has sustained severe damage, Watmore warns homeowners should be ready for an onslaught of so-called “contractors” approaching about repairs. Some may be state-licensed contractors, but it’s the others you need to worry about.
“Scammers will just do like a high-pressure sale situation and say, ‘Oh, well if you don’t get this fixed soon, your whole house it can’t get repaired,” Watmore said.
Pressure and persistence: It’s two tools scammers rely on most.
Watmore tells FOX40 all licensed contractors should carry a pocket license every homeowner would be wise to ask for it from the very beginning. She adds, when getting into a contract, state law requires it’s a paper copy, a down payment is no more than 10% of the total cost, and she warns against paying in cash.
“It’s OK to say no, and it’s OK to move on to the next contract or the next bid if you don’t feel comfortable letting that person work in and around your home and giving them your money to make these repairs,” Watmore said.
Watmore said the safest bet is to get no less than three estimates so you can compare prices and better tell which ones are legit. Once a contractor’s name and information are received, homeowners can check out their work history on the state license board website.
It’s recommended homeowners first contact their insurance if there was damage to their property or business. There is also disaster relief help.
Residents affected by the storm are also eligible for tax relief, with many getting extra time for filing.