How to Spot and Stop Storm Scams in Tallahassee After the Storm

Natural disasters in the Tallahassee area have left many residents shaken and feeling vulnerable. The emotional and financial strain can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, this vulnerability often attracts scammers eager to exploit the situation. Following storms, reports of various scams tend to increase, adding to the stress of recovery. This blog aims to empower you and fellow Tallahassee residents to identify and avoid these storm chasers and their scams, ensuring a smoother recovery process.

Common Storm Scams in Tallahassee

Contractor Fraud

Contractor making notes in notebook

After a storm, unlicensed or out-of-town “contractors” may offer quick fixes at inflated prices. They often demand full payment upfront, sweetening the deal with a cash only discounted rate, and then disappear without completing the work. This type of fraud has been a recurring issue in Leon and Gadsden counties, leaving many homeowners with unfinished repairs and financial losses.

Public Adjuster Scams

Fraudulent public adjusters may promise to secure you a substantial insurance payout for a hefty fee. These individuals often overpromise and underdeliver, leaving you with little to no help and less money.

Charity Fraud

Following natural disasters, fake charities emerge, exploiting the generosity of those wishing to help. These scams use emotional appeals to collect donations that never reach the intended victims. You should always be cautious and verify the legitimacy of charities before donating.

Tree Removal Scams

Shady tree service companies may pressure you into immediate, costly removal of damaged trees. They might exaggerate the urgency, or the danger posed by the trees to secure quick business.

Specific Local Scams

In Tallahassee, post-storm fraud often includes “roof repair” and “roof scam” tactics. Scammers posing as roofing companies offer quick roof repairs or replacements, while ensuring homeowners they follow Florida workers’ compensation law while conducting repairs. They demand large sums upfront and then vanish.

Red Flags of a Storm Scam

High-Pressure Sales Tactics

Scammers create a sense of urgency, using fear to rush you into making hasty decisions. Be wary of anyone who insists on immediate action without allowing you time to think or get a second opinion. Also, never give out your personal information, especially when pressured.

Upfront Payment Demands

Reputable contractors rarely require full payment upfront. If a contractor insists on a large cash payment before starting work, consider it a red flag.

Lack of Documentation

Before hiring anyone, verify their licenses, insurance, and references. Legitimate contractors will readily provide this information.

Unsolicited Offers

Be cautious of individuals who show up at your door unexpectedly, offering help. Always verify their credentials before proceeding.

Local Red Flags

In Tallahassee, beware of contractors claiming to have special access to permits or exclusive materials. Such claims are often false and a tactic to gain your trust quickly.

How to Protect Yourself from Storm Scams

Research Before You Hire

Verify a contractor’s credentials through the Better Business Bureau and local licensing boards. Check online reviews to gauge their reputation.

Get Multiple Estimates

Obtain at least three written estimates before choosing a contractor. This helps ensure you get a fair price and identify any outliers.

Read the Fine Print

Understand all contract terms before signing anything. This includes timelines, payment schedules, and detailed descriptions of the work to be performed.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Properly file a claim and seek help from a legitimate public adjuster if needed. Your insurance company can guide you through the process and recommend trusted professionals. Be wary of any restoration professional who offered to waive or discount your insurance deductible.

Allweather Insulation is Here to Weather the Storm with You

written estimateVigilance and caution are crucial after a storm. By taking proactive steps, you can protect yourself and your neighbors from scams. Remember, recovery is possible even in the face of deceitful practices!

For immediate assistance with suspected fraud, make a phone call to the toll-free fraud tip hotline at 1-800-378-0445 or visit the Fraud Free Florida fraud tip website for guidance. Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office and anti-fraud strike teams are also available to help combat post-storm fraud in Tallahassee, FL.

If you’re in need of a qualified local insulation contractor after a storm, Allweather Insulation is the team to call. We’ve been a trusted part of the Tallahassee community since 1955 and are an approved insulation provider for the City of Tallahassee. We’ve weathered many storms alongside our local neighbors and customers throughout North Florida and South Georgia. It’s our goal to provide you with honest work at a fair price and help you and your family stay safe and vigilant during and after every storm. Contact us today to learn more about our insulation services for your Tallahassee home.

Stay safe and informed, Tallahassee!

Additional Online Resources About Storm Scams

Scams at a Glance: Price Gouging (PDF) (opens in a new tab) from the office of Attorney General Ashley Moody

Scams at a Glance: After the Storm (PDF) (opens in a new tab) from the office of Attorney General Ashley Moody

FEMA: Disaster Fraud Website and Helpline

Anti-Fraud Strike Team Deployed to Big Bend, article from WCTV Eyewitness News

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