CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- First come the storms, then the scams.
Disasters like the severe weather that struck several Illinois communities Monday often brings out the best in people, but unfortunately, disasters can also bring out the worst in others who use the opportunity to prey on storm survivors.
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is warning people affected by recent storms to be on alert for scams, which can take a variety of forms, including fraudulent housing inspectors, building contractors, and donation solicitors.
“It’s appalling that anyone would see this situation as an opportunity to scam others, but unfortunately this is something often seen after disasters,” said IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau, in a statement. “Everyone affected by these storms should be aware of this potential threat and take steps to protect their personal information.”
The state is working with local authorities to collect damage information that will help guide the next steps in the recovery process. Local emergency managers will always carry official identification, and proper PPE, when visiting a home that sustained storm damage. Residents should always ask to see ID if they have any questions about the legitimacy of anyone who may approach them, IEMA said in a statement.
The IEMA is working with the Attorney General’s office to warn residents in impacted areas to be on alert for scammers looking to exploit homeowners and business owners who may be in need of repairs from storm damage. Also, people are reminded to never pre-pay for repair services. If you are contacted and suspect fraud, report the incident to your local law enforcement, or contact the Consumer Fraud Hotline at 1-800-243-0618.