Beware of contractor scams after Irma

BBB warms residents to ask key questions

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Better Business Bureau is warning the public to beware of unlicensed contractors trying to rip you off following Hurricane Irma.

After storms like Irma, contractors in Jacksonville were swamped with roof repairs.

"Within a few hours we'll start getting phone calls," said Richard Gifford of Gifford & Gifford Construction-Roofing. "

Before they climb that ladder, there are some things you need to look out for so you don't get scammed. First,  are they state licensed? If you don't know, ask.

"On their estimates that they give you, their state license should be listed on there," Gifford said.

Also, you need to ask if they have workers compensation and general liability insurance.

"If the labor that he's got working was to fall off the roof and get injured, ultimately the homeowner would have a lawsuit against them because there would be no insurance to cover that," Gifford said.

Liability insurance also covers your home from any projects or repairs that don't turn out right.

Also, never pay the whole cost for a repair up front. The Better Business Bureau said many storm victims get ripped off this way.

"It's disappointing as a local business owner, I like to pride ourselves and our industry in doing things the right way and it is frustrating to see at times people getting taken advantage of in their tragic times," Gifford said.

It is important to do your homework. Looking up reviews and licenses online can help narrow down the options to businesses you can trust.