DES PLAINES, Ill., Sept. 18, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- As Hurricane Sally leaves a path of destruction in its wake, homeowners are left with the unenviable task of putting their lives back together. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) warns everyone to avoid being victimized a second time by deceitful roofers or contractors who come out of the woodwork and others trying to unload their flood-damaged vehicles.
After disasters, homeowners may be pressed into signing a contract and paying out their insurance claim money or their own savings to a contractor who may take the money and run or do minimal or shoddy repairs, leaving the property owner holding the bag.
It may seem comforting when a contractor stops by your home stating they can help you. However, almost all disaster repair scams are unsolicited. There is no need to rush into an agreement with a contractor who solicits your repair work—especially when you did not request it.
NICB suggests you consider these tips before hiring a contractor:
Homeowners are not alone when it comes to fraud after a storm. As floodwaters recede, many flood-damaged vehicles emerge providing an opportunity for fraudsters to prey on innocent used car buyers. NICB encourages purchasers to do their homework. To that end, NICB provides a free, useful tool called VINCheck that allows consumers check a vehicle for a "red flag" such as theft, accident damage or written off as a total loss.
Dishonest dealers and other individuals can buy flooded vehicles, dry and clean them and sell them to unsuspecting buyers as used vehicles. Many of these vehicles come on the market after natural disasters. If you are shopping for a used vehicle, NICB recommends checking a few items that could indicate whether the vehicle is a flood recovery vehicle or not. Some steps to follow are:
REPORT FRAUD: Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800.TEL.NICB (800.835.6422)or submitting a form on our website.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL INSURANCE CRIME BUREAU: Headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, learning and development, government affairs and public affairs. The NICB is supported by more than 1,400 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote more than $526 billion in insurance premiums in 2019, or more than 82% of the nation's property-casualty insurance. That includes more than 95% ($241 billion) of the nation's personal auto insurance. To learn more visit www.nicb.org.
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SOURCE National Insurance Crime Bureau