While Texas is a state that causes plenty of controversy ranging from gun rights to reproductive health and abortion, Texans tend to set differences aside in the wake of disaster to help each other out.
This week has been no different as companies, individuals and nonprofits have all flocked to Central Texas to lend a helping hand and provide much-needed relief to victims when possible.
Despite this good nature, criminals looking to score big on scams are also probably doing their best to drum up fraudulent business at the expense of victims who need to rebuild.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a press release that Texans should be on the look out for fraud and common scams.
"Disasters such as these can unite communities and, as we are seeing, bring out the best in people. However, everyone should be aware of bad actors looking to take advantage of the circumstances," he said in a press release. "My office will continue working to protect Texans from deceptive acts, and will carefully monitor the situation as Texans rebuild and recover.”
Here's a few tips the AG has for victims:
- Only do business with licensed or bonded contractors or builders;
- Consult the Better Business Bureau to ensure you are working with a trustworthy business;
- Contact an insurance adjuster to get an estimate of the damage and repair cost;
- Be wary of contractors who solicit services door-to-door, especially those that are unfamiliar or from out of town;
- Know that under Texas law, the door-to-door seller must advise you orally and in writing that you have a right to cancel the sale within three days;
- Get the salesperson’s license plate number;
- Don’t rush into signing a contract, and never pay up-front for promised work;
- Secure the terms of any warranty work in writing; and
- Ask for references, or rely on recommendations from friends or relatives who have had experience with honest contractors.