Warning from Pa. Insurance Department against scams after storms

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 Part of a tree lies on a car after the branch broke off a tree during storms in Levittown, Pa., Thursday, July 3, 2014. Powerful thunderstorms moving across Pennsylvania have left about 171,000 customers without power. (Bob Lentz/AP Photo)

Part of a tree lies on a car after the branch broke off a tree during storms in Levittown, Pa., Thursday, July 3, 2014. Powerful thunderstorms moving across Pennsylvania have left about 171,000 customers without power. (Bob Lentz/AP Photo)

After this week’s stormy weather, Pennsylvania’s Insurance Department is sending out some tips for being smart while dealing with flooding or other damage.

Insurance department spokeswoman Melissa Fox says if you have to pay someone to do storm cleanup, make sure you check the license of your contractor because there are many people who will try to take advantage.

“Scam artists will come into a neighborhood prey on your vulnerability and confusion and try to make a quick buck get some money that you shouldn’t be giving to them,” she said.

Fox says common complaints are contractors who take deposits with intentions of never returning to do work or ones who do shoddy work and refuse to fix what’s not up to standard. She says while there are credible independent insurance adjusters, check credentials of those offering to be a negotiator with your insurance company.

“Anyone who comes and knocks on your door offering their services, ask for a business card ask if they can give you any references,” she said. “Never pay in cash that way you always have a paper trail if you pay by check. And if they make an offer to you that sounds too good to be true, normally it is.”

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department has a hotline to check for scams 1-877-881-6388.

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