Washington residents whose homes were damaged by recent floods should watch out for cons, unregistered contractors and flood cars.
- Possible identity theft scam:Snohomish County Emergency Management received a report of a scammer who phoned a homeowner and claimed to be a federal government employee. The caller said he’s able to offer a low-interest loan to help repair flood-damaged homes. The Attorney General’s Office does not know the scammer’s motive or how many people he has called, but suspects he may have been seeking personal information and/or money.
- Unregistered contractors: Homeowners and businesses should make sure that electricians, plumbers, roofers or other contractors they hire to do repairs or clean-up are licensed and registered to work in Washington. Reports of unregistered contractors who charge exorbitant fees or do shoddy work are more common after storms. Check if a contractor is registered and if there are any claims on the contractor's bond on the Department of Labor and Industries Web. L&I warns that wires and equipment that have been submerged in water should not be re-energized without an inspection from a qualified person, such as an electrical inspector or electrical contractor.
- Flood-damaged cars: Lastly, the Attorney General’s Office reminds drivers and car dealers that individuals may try to sell flood-damaged cars in the coming months. These cars may look normal but almost always have serious problems including chronic mildew and corroded wires that lead to electrical failure. When buying a used car, you should research the title and the vehicle identification number. Carefully inspect the vehicle inside and out and have it inspected by a qualified, independent mechanic.
- Report damages: Local jurisdictions are urging Washington flood victims to report damages. Whether you are a renter, home, farm or business owner – insured or uninsured – report your damages. For local emergency management contact information, visit the state Emergency Management Division’s Web site.