Flooding in our area is causing all sorts of headaches, from people having to evacuate their homes to repairing/mitigating the water damage to avoiding scam artists.

Dennis Horton, Executive Director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau (BBB), says:

According to the National Weather Service, a combination of significant snow cover, saturated soil, warmer weather, and the predicted rains; have made conditions are nearly perfect to create flooding emergencies. These conditions are also perfect to bring out scammers looking to take advantage of the situation.  Because of the cost associated with eliminating the problems created when it floods; and the scammers, homeowners need to take steps to protect themselves.

The BBB also offers some tips on helping to reduce flood damage:

  • Install back-flow valves or standpipes to prevent sewer lines from backing up.
  • Elevate your washer, dryer, water heater, oil tank, furnace and electrical wiring on concrete blocks. If you're unable to raise an item, anchor it and protect it with a floodwall or shield.
  • Install a sump pump system if you have below-grade floors.
  • Landscape with plants and vegetation that resist soil erosion.
  • Store any irreplaceable family items and important documents somewhere other than the basement.
  • Install a flood-detection device in your basement that sounds an alarm or calls your phone if it senses water.

And a few suggestions to avoid being scammed in the aftermath of flooding:

  • Request bids from two or three different companies.
  • Don’t automatically pick the lowest bid.
  • Base all bids on the same criteria.

Also, when reviewing bids and contracts, be sure to read all agreements, guarantees, and instructions before signing. Don’t be pressured into signing an agreement before you are ready, and you are sure you understand all terms and conditions.

Before you sign any repair contract with anyone, research for details and free information on contractors you can trust at www.bbb.org and use the BBB’s free online service Request A Quote to obtain estimates, proposals or general information from BBB Accredited contractors.

This sort of thing can happen anywhere: