Madigan warns residents with tornado damage about repair scams

SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - After Tuesday’s thunderstorms and tornadoes across Illinois, Attorney General Lisa Madigan warns residents of scammers hoping to exploit homeowners and business owners with damage from the storm.

The scammers move quickly and pressure people into making expensive decisions about cleanup and construction work, according to a statement from the attorney general’s office. They often pose as insurance adjusters or public adjusters.

“I encourage residents and business owners to be cautious before hiring contractors they do not know, particularly if those individuals are soliciting door-to-door.” Madigan said in a statement.

General contractors are not required by state law to be licensed, but municipalities may require permits, according to Madigan. Insurance adjusters and roofers both require licenses from the state.

To avoid scams never pay in cash and shop around for estimates from different contractors, according to Madigan. If the name on the license doesn’t match the contractor’s business card or truck that should be a red flag. Residents can search for licenses on the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s website.

Any resident who may encounter a scammer should call the Consumer Fraud Hotline in Chicago at 1-800-386-5438, or in Springfield at 1-800-243-0618 or in Carbondale at 1-800-243-0607.