GREENSBURG (KDKA) — Officials have a warning for tornado victims trying to rebuild – beware of out-of-state contractors.

Al Murray, who owns Al’s Roofing Company, a business he and his family have operated for the last 30 years in the Greensburg area, says he got a call from a Texas company that wanted to buy the right to use their name.

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“They offered me $20,000 plus $5 per square that they put down in this town,” he said.

Murray refused the offer, but worries that other local contractors are receiving similar calls from stormchasers looking to cash in on the aftermath of a disaster.

“I’m an established company here in the area and they can go ahead and produce more work from an established name because now it shows like they’re a local company,” he said.

The problem comes once the stormchasers leave town. The local company is left to answer to angry storm victims left high and dry.

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“After they’re gone, there’s still going to be warranty works,” Murray said. “And I’m going to be responsible to go ahead and take care of that.”

To protect yourself:

  • Choose a contractor you or someone you know has used in the past
  • Ask for a physical address and don’t be afraid to visit their office
  • Contact the Better Business Bureau

“We don’t want the people that have already suffered like they have to lose the money that they’re getting from their insurance companies and there are people out there right now that are working to get that money from them,” Sandy Smythe with the Westmoreland County Department of Public Safety, said.

If you’re still not sure, you can ask to see a contractor’s driver’s license. A true local contractor will have a local home address.

Legitimate contractors will understand why you are asking and won’t mind showing their credentials.

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