Be wary of fraudsters wanting cash for cleaning up, making repairs

ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office wants to remind you to be safe and be wary of people who drive around and offer help with cleaning up and making repairs for cash.

The sheriff’s office says this is a popular tactic used by fraudsters to con you out of your money.

“If things go wrong, you will not only be out what you paid them, you will have additional expenses to pay someone to do the work properly as well as fix issues caused by the fraudulent cleanup or repair work,” a news release from the sheriff’s office says. “In addition, if they are injured while on your property you may be liable.

Authorities recommend that you use licensed and insured contractors and get a signed contract to outline their services. Legitimate contractors will do this for you. Any workers who don’t identify themselves, their business names, or contractor’s license number should be very cautiously evaluated.

You can find a list of licensed contractors from the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation here.

If you feel wary about someone soliciting work and want to report them, contact local law enforcement. In Isle of Wight, call 757-357-2151.

“Please do not wait to call and report,” the sheriff’s office says. “A call right away may help us identify and evaluate if the person is on the level or has criminal intent. A description of the person, the vehicle, including tag would be very helpful, including photos if available. It will help us track them down to pursue prosecution of any criminal acts that were committed.”

When you do use a licensed contractor’s services and they meet your expectations, give them good reviews online to help others make decisions.