Right now many residents in Louisiana are considering what preparations need to be made to protect life and property ahead of an approaching tropical weather system. Meanwhile, a group of evil doers is plotting to prey upon unsuspecting citizens in the hours before and the days after the storm passes.

This is why the Better Business Bureau is being proactive in offering tips and guidance on how to best protect yourself from scam artists that always seem to pop up in the area during times of disaster.

Here's what the BBB suggests concerning those who would solicit for charities connect with storm recovery.

  • Beware of charities that spring up overnight. Investigate before you donate. Check out a charity at www.bbb.org/charity.
  • Do not be pressured into making a donation right away. Legitimate charities will take your donation today, tomorrow, or next month.
  • Don’t provide personal or financial information, like your Social Security number, bank account numbers, or credit card information to just anyone who solicits a donation. Make sure they are reputable first.
  • Don’t give cash. For security and tax record purposes, contribute by check or credit card or another way that provides documentation of the gift.

The Better Business Bureau also offered these tips on dealing with home repair services that might be needed following a high wind or high water event.

  1. Check with your insurance company about your coverage and their specific filing requirements.
  2. Although anxious to get things back to normal, avoid acting in haste. Don’t be pressured into signing a long-term contract. Make temporary repairs if necessary.
  3. For major repairs, shop around for contractors, get competitive bids, and check references.
  4. Be wary of door-to-door workers. Check with your city or parish to find out about door to door rules and company licensing.
  5. If possible, get more than one bid – bids should be in writing and should detail the work to be done, the materials to be used, and the price breakdown for labor and materials.
  6. Review any written agreement carefully before signing and keep a copy.
  7. Never pay in cash and never pay a substantial amount of the bid up-front.
  8. Never pay in full until all supplies & subcontractors are paid eliminating a possible lien on your property.
  9. For additional information or to check a company’s record, call the Better Business Bureau at 225-346-5222 or go to www.bbb.org.

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