The full force of Sandy hasn't even hit Maryland yet, but regulators here are warning consumers against the scam artists who inevitably will pop up.
The Maryland Attorney General said that once the storm leaves the area, homeowners with damaged houses and cars will likely be further hurt by repair scams.
“Be careful with door-to-door salesmen using high pressure tactics to get your hard-earned money. That money may vanish while the repair goes undone,” says AG Doug Gansler.
Besides high-pressure sales pitches, the AG offers these other tips:
Beware of sales people showing up immediately on your doorstep once the storm passes and those who demand payments upfront.
Check to see if a home improvement contractor is licensed — and if there are any complaints against the contractor — with the Maryland Home Improvement Commission, either online or at 410-230-6309.
Go online at the Department of Natural Resources to check out if a tree expert is licensed.
Avoid roving contractors and deal only with Maryland businesses.
Get everything in writing. And get more than one bid.
And, of course, be wary of charity scams that are also bound to crop up after Sandy dies out.