City of Elkhart warns home and business owners of post-flood scammers
ELKHART, Ind. – As homeowners in Michiana start to return and repair their homes, city officials are warning of post-flood scammers.
Generators running, water trickling out of basements and onto streets are common sounds in Elkhart.
“We pumped all day yesterday and then been pumping for hours today,” said Heather Wright. “I mean it’s going, it’s just a slow process.”
Wright lives at this house on Jefferson Street.
“I noticed water was starting to come into my basement early on,” said Wright.
Waist-deep flooding in her basement forced her family to leave their home.
“I started calling people telling them we gotta evacuate,” said Wright.
She’s now returning home to clean up and the damage is so bad, we couldn’t go inside. But these photos show what her family is dealing with.
“It’s horrible,” Wright said. “I’ve lived in this neighborhood my whole life and to see what it looks like right now, I mean it’s heartbreaking.”
Scammers are another problem floating in these waters.
Matt Moyer is the residential manager of Moyer electric. He said post-flood scams by people claiming to be contractors can be common.
Moyer said a knock on your front door or receiving a phone call from a contractor could be a sign that it’s a scam. He said legitimate contractors would never reach out to you first.
“I would be very weary of a contractor, coming up knocking on my door offering to help me. I would want to make sure I had some references from either other friends or online even,” said Moyer.
Wright said as a homeowner, it’s worrisome that people would try to hurt her neighbors.
“I mean I can’t understand why people would do that to people who are already in such bad shape as it is,” said Wright.
A spokesperson with the City of Elkhart said they aren’t aware of any scams going around at the moment. But the city wanted to warn home and business owners as soon as possible that this could be a problem.
The city said avoiding a scam starts with research. That means verifying a contractor is licensed to work. That can be done by calling your city’s building department. You should also check with the Better Business Bureau to identify any complaints about a contractor. The City of Elkhart said to never pay full cost upfront and to always get everything in writing. Social media can also be used to avoid a scam.
“In this day in age, we can ask friends for referrals, if they’ve heard of this contractor before or if they’ve done a good job for them. Usually you’ll get some good feedback,” said Moyer.
It’s also important to make sure contractors are getting permits for any repairs they may be doing on your home.