Storm Victims: Watch Out For Scams!
December 5, 2011
By Gary R. Herbert
The recent wind damage which impacted so many Utah families and companies has prompted many to come forward to volunteer aid. As Utah and its citizens continue to clean-up, recover, and prepare for the next winter storm, I am asking homeowners and businesses to be extra vigilant against scams which may cross their paths, disguised as friendly offers of assistance.
Unfortunately, our colleagues at the Utah Department of Commerce tell us there are those who would see these situations as an opportunity to create further damage and loss. As Governor, I am joining with the Department of Commerce in asking citizens to take the time to ensure you are working with an insured state licensed contractor when seeking repairs or other work for your home or property.
The Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing housed within Commerce can provide a quick check of a contractor’s license online at www.dopl.utah.gov or you can call their offices at (801) 530-6628.
Tips for How to Avoid Becoming a Victim:
Provided by Utah Department of Commerce
- Be cautious of people that show up at your front door and tell you, “I’m in the area just for today.” “I can perform the work for you really cheap,” “You have to decide NOW.”
- Always ask to see a copy of his or her contractor’s license. Utah law requires all contractors to be licensed. You can also call the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing to check if a person is a licensed contractor in Utah at (801) 530-6628, Toll-free in Utah (866) 275-3675 or check on line at www.dopl.utah.gov
- Ask for references of people they have performed work for previously, call those references.
- Get a written bid. Then phone other licensed contractors to compare material and job costs.
- Always get a written contract from the contractor. Often people are deceived by work performed on a vague understanding.
- Make payment out to the name on the contractor’s license. Never to an individual.