The BBB says there are preventative steps Western Pennsylvanians can take to not engage with scams.

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Yesterday saw significant winds sweep through our area, knocking down power lines, trees and even damaging some residences.

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The resulting damage may mean some homeowners have to call in help to restore their property. However, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Western Pennsylvania is advising caution if you are looking to hire someone.

“Spring is typically home improvement season, but property damage resulting from an unexpected storm can result in homeowners turning to unregistered and unqualified contractors who promise quick fixes,” says Caitlin Driscoll, public relations director of the Better Business Bureau of Western PA. “Say no to cash-only deals, high upfront payments and handshake deals without a contract; always do your research first to hire a reputable, local contractor when it comes to storm repairs.”

The BBB recommends homeowners looking to make repairs do the following:

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  • Reach out to your insurance company
  • Research contractors
  • Wait before committing to high-pressure sales and handshake deals
  • Be wary of door-to-door solicitation and cash-only deals

When going to your insurance company, the BBB says to bring photo and video documentation of the damage when starting the claim process.

The BBB suggests using their website to vet contractors, seeking identification if a contractor approaches you, getting a written contract and reading the fine print, and paying for services with a credit card to better protect you from fraud.

They also recommend only providing one third of the requested payment upfront and making sure your insurance company has approved all repairs before giving the final payment to a contractor.

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If you are the victim of a home improvement scam, the BBB says you can report it online or call 877-267-5222.