Fake contractors touch down after severe weather strikes

Severe weather is an invitation for fake contractors to swoop into damaged areas, preying on your wallet.

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WICHITA, Kan. - Barry Brecheisen owns Heartland Roof and Gutter in Wichita. He knows competition among contractors to repair storm-damaged homes in Kansas is fierce.

But when bad weather strikes, the ones who show up at your door aren't always legit.

Many ask for large down payments and then disappear, never doing any work.

"People have been known to use other companies' names and pretend to be somebody else," Brecheisen says. "So it's really important to ask a lot of questions, to feel a good confidence level before you proceed dealing with the company."

Be sure to make sure the contractor has a Kansas roofing registration. They should have this document with them. And if you doubt the paperwork is official, you can look up the business on the State Attorney General's website.

"You want your contractor to be able to produce that document and show that they are registered with the state and the state does a lot of background checks of companies for the consumer," says Brecheisen.

Contractors must be licensed in the city they work. Even surrounding suburbs like Park City and Derby have their own licensing departments. Brecheisen says, that's a background check you can do yourself.

"Call your city and ask for the licensing department and a lot of times, they know the reputation of these companies, if there's problems. That buzz gets around the office and there's different agencies too. So that's another way."

Many legitimate contractors will indeed go door to door seeking business and many will ask for money upfront.

To weed out the scammers, check for those documents, verify the company with the state, and also, call the Better Business Bureau, and check out the company with them as well.

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