SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah state officials are warning of scams after getting reports of unlicensed contractors trying to capitalize on damage from last week's windstorm.
Utah Department of Commerce Chief Francine Giani said the contractors have been canvassing neighborhoods and businesses in the wake of the Thursday storms, searching for properties that need repairs.
Officials say scams often begin when contractors offer cheap repairs, ask for money up front and then do a poor job on the project or disappear.
Giani said consumers can protect themselves by using a professional, licensed contractor who is insured. Residents can verify the contractor's status by asking to see a license or by contacting the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.
Tips to avoid becoming a victim include the following:
- Be cautious of people showing up at the door and saying they can do the job cheaply, or that they are in the area for just the day, or that a decision has to be made immediately.
- Ask to see a contractor's license. Call 866-275-3675 or go to www.dopl.utah.gov to check the license.
- Ask for references and call them.
- Get a written bid and then compare bids.
- Get a written contract.
- Make payment after the work is done and to the name on the contractor's license, not to an individual.
Officials estimate that Thursday's windstorm caused more than $8 million in damage in Davis and Weber counties. Centerville and Farmington, where winds reached 102 mph at times, were hardest hit.