Don't Fall For It: Storm cleanup presents opportunity for scammers

Published: Jun. 25, 2019 at 5:55 PM CDT
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A threat for another round of storms Tuesday night creates the possibility for more cleanup and with that, an opportunity for scammers.

Storm after storm, broken limbs, fallen trees and pile after pole of debris are all in need of cleanup.

"When there is a lot of demand, especially in the form of cleanup, it's easy for scammers to come door to door because they know people need these services," warns Denis Groene with the Better Business Bureau.

Groene says where there's a need, there's opportunity for scams. It's not limited to storm cleanup, but that's one area in particular where they take advantage of people needing help and not wanting to wait for that help to arrive.

"Unfortunately, the good companies book up fast and they can't come to your house and help you clean up. So, it's an easy way for scam artists to come door-to-door and tell you what you want to hear, be able to provide those services immediately," Groene says.

Some scammers start a job, but don't complete it. Others don't start at all. Either way, victims end up forking over cash for a storm cleanup job that doesn't get done.

Sure, it happens all the time. It gives our industry a bad name a lot of times because of that," says certified arborist Arlan Bebermeyer. "One thing some people will do is pay up front, and that's never a good policy."

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