In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, thousands of North Carolinians with damaged homes, businesses and other property will be prime targets for scam artists, says the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors (NCLBGC).
The organization, in a statement issued just before the storm lashed the Outer Banks and other areas in eastern NC, warned citizens to exercise extreme caution to avoid becoming further victimized by scam artists posing as legitimate contractors.
“The NCLBGC reminds citizens that licensed general contractors have passed an examination and have met the financial requirements for being a licensed general contractor in the State of North Carolina,” the statement said.
“Unfortunately, natural disasters like Hurricane Dorian lead to an increase in individuals posing as legitimate licensed contractors in an effort to prey upon vulnerable citizens,” said NCLBGC executive director C. Frank Wiesner. “Individuals who hire unlicensed contractors are putting themselves at great financial risk.”
The NCLBCG noted these points:
- Any project quoted at $30,000 or more requires a valid NC general contractors license.
Projects less than $30,000 do not require a license. However, hiring a NC licensed general contractor may offer security in knowing that you are dealing with a legitimate contractor who is authorized to engage in construction or repairs.
- Ask for proof that the contractor is licensed. Citizens can verify if the contractor is properly licensed by: 1) searching on the NCLBGC’s website at www.nclbgc.org;
2) calling the NCLBGC at (800)220-7185; or 3) downloading the Board’s free mobile app for Apple and Android devices by entering “NCLBGC SEARCH” in the search feature.
- Be wary of door-to-door repair solicitations or people who demand payments in cash.
- Require a written contract that details the work to be done, materials to be used, a payment schedule and a timeline for work to be completed. A licensed contractor is required to list their license number on all contracts.
- Contact your insurance company before beginning any work.
- Contact the local permitting office or inspections department to determine if permits are required to assure building code compliance. If permits are required, be sure the contractor acquires them before construction begins.
- Before making final payment, evaluate the completed work and ask your contractor to confirm that all subcontractors and suppliers have been paid to eliminate potential liens on your property.