Beware of Sandy Scam Artists

Ask questions before you hand over any money for Sandy repairs or relief

By Dan Stamm
|  Thursday, Nov 1, 2012  |  Updated 10:28 PM EDT
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State officials around the Delaware Valley say the storm damage Sandy left breeds scam artists. NBC10's Harry Hairston gives you tips on how to make sure you don't fall victim to fake charities or contractors.

NBC10 Philadelphia - Harry Hairston

State officials around the Delaware Valley say the storm damage Sandy left breeds scam artists. NBC10's Harry Hairston gives you tips on how to make sure you don't fall victim to fake charities or contractors.

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The storm has passed but the threat from Sandy remains -- in the form of scams.

State officials in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware are urging residents to beware of so-called “storm chasers.”

"We’re gonna see a lot of shingle issues, we’re gonna see roof issues, we’re gonna see window issues, we’re gonna see tree issues and when we see those kind of issues we know that ‘storm chasers’ are quick to follow," Better Business Bureau of Pennsylvania Vice President Andy Goode told NBC10’s Harry Hairston.

The BBB of Pa. says that not every person knocking on your door offering to fix what is broken is out to scam you and that there is a simple way to tell if the would-be contractor is legit.

"Ask for a copy of their Pennsylvania or New Jersey contractor’s license because both states require a license," Goode said.

But even those people who escaped Sandy’s wrath could still be scammed in form of bogus charities.

"Every time there is a natural disaster we see fraudsters trying to profit off of the destruction and take advantage of people’s desire to help," said Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden. "Whether you are repairing damage to your home or yard, or looking to donate to a charity to help others, there are a few steps you should take to ensure you do not fall victim to a scam."

Reputable organizations like the American Red Cross (NBC10 is having an all day Sandy Relief Fund event with the Red Cross on Monday) are a good way to ensure you are giving to the relief effort.

"If you want to give money to charitable relief organizations give to ones you know," Goode said.

Remember, there is no need to rush to give relief since the cleanup effort will take months. The best bet before giving is to check out the charity’s website before giving any money.

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