On Your Side: Tips to avoid being a storm scam victim

Many homeowners are already anxious to start the cleanup and repairs after Sunday’s storms.

Unfortunately, there are also a lot of people out there ready to take advantage of storm victims.

If you are in a situation in which your home or business has sustained serious damage, it’s important that you first get an accurate account of all of the damage before you clean up any debris so you can file a claim.

Take photos or videos and make a list as best as you can of all of the damage and lost items. You may even want to save some damaged items, especially if they are of great value so your insurance adjuster can inspect them as well.

If your home was not affected, now is a good time to take a video inventory of your home with your cell phone to document your belongings in case there ever is a need to file a damage claim.

Any out-of-pocket repairs should only be to mitigate any further damage, like covering damage with a tarp or boarding up broken windows.

Start a new album on your phone of pictures of your receipts and store them there.

You will want to contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Some companies will just send adjusters to hard-hit areas, so make sure your home is easy to find. Some of the streets are unrecognizable, so post a sign in the yard with your street name and house number if need be

As for other businesses who come knocking on your door offering to repair the damage or fix roofs, that is your choice.

FOX 4 has received dozens of complaints from viewers desperate for help who gave money to a contractor who came knocking on their door after a storm and then never saw that person again or the repairs were done. But because the company wasn't local, now the homeowner can’t get them to come back to town for warranty work.  

If you find the damage has put you in a financial strain, contact your mortgage lender. Explain the situation and see if they're willing to work with you during the time it takes to get your home back up and running.

The same is true for your cable phone and internet company. If you can’t use their services because your home has been severely damaged, ask that your account be put on hold.