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Authorities warn of scammers in wake of storm

Authorities warn of scammers in wake of storm Click to Enlarge Photo:

May 4, 2012 at 7:32 am

ALBANY, MN (KNSI) – After Tuesday night's hail storms and severe weather, authorities are warning local residents of scam artists operating under the guise of solicting home repairs.

Many home-owners in the Albany and Freeport areas are dealing with the aftermath of golf-ball sized hail and winds. Albany Fire Chief Dean Mitchell also tells KNSI anyone soliciting to handle repair work is required to obtain a proper permit from the city.

Central Minnesota Builder's Association executive director Bonnie Moeller says home-owners should be aware some scammers often leave town as quickly as they came.

"We like to call them storm chasers. They come in to the area, they are not from local towns or local businesses, they come and they go. So when you have a warranty issue then, they are not around and you cannot contact them."

Moeller says there are definitely tell-tale signs that you may be dealing with a less than reputable repairman.

"The main thing is if they want you to sign something off the bat, if they want you to sign a waiver, 'I want to go on your roof will you sign this?' Any type of signature that could bind you in the small print, and that's happened."

If you're worried you may be dealing with a scammer, Moeller encourages residents to contact the association.

"Call us and we can check to see if they are licensed. We can let you know if they are from the area and can let you know if they are a member of our association and if they are, how long they've been a member."

More than 100 homes in Albany received hail damage while almost every home in the town of Freeport saw some kind of damage to its roof, siding or windows, the two hardest hit locations in the wake of Tuesday's powerful storm.

For more information on avoiding scams, and to contact the builder's association visit them online at cmbaonline.org.

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