Arlington cracks down on potential scam artists after storm

Arlington cracks down on potential scam artists after storm

Credit: WFAA Staff

Tornado damage on Haverford Drive in Arlington




Posted on April 4, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 4 at 7:44 PM

ARLINGTON — The knocks on the door came early and often.

Before the storm passed through Arlington on Tuesday, Sarita Pettit already had contractors on her block offering to fix her damaged home.

"It is just overwhelming — right at first, bombarding us," she said. "We didn't have time to think about who we wanted to go with, or what we wanted to do."

Storms are big business for contractors. They are also ripe for big scams.

Arlington is restricting access to its heavily-damaged communities.

Residents who live there will receive permits, giving them access to their homes, but businesses looking to solicit repair work will be kept out.

Only companies who have been requested by homeowners to do work will be allowed in, and city officials are checking to make sure they are legitimate.

"These access passes are not an endorsement of anyone's work; we are simply granting access to people into the neighborhood to perform necessary work," said Arlington Assistant Police Chief James Hawthorne.

The Better Business Bureau says when an area experiences massive storm damage, companies tend to come from around the country trying to cash in.

Experts recommend residents do their homework, research the companies they are working with, and — whatever you do — avoid paying them up-front.

"Be skeptical of advance fees; it's hard to get scammed if you don't pay an advance fee," said John Riggins of the Tarrant County Better Business Bureau.

The bureau recommends using a local company to do the work, just in case there is a future problem, you'll know where you can find them.