HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of North Alabama is warning the community about what it calls “storm chaser” scams.

After major weather events, the BBB says scammers show up in neighborhoods or put signs in different areas offering their debris cleanup or repair services.

The organization urges you to be cautious with who you get in business with.

The BBB of North Alabama’s Communications and Marketing Coordinator Lindsay George said some of the major red flags can be someone who pulls up to you in an unmarked vehicle, or hands you an invoice without any type of contact information.

“You also want to be aware of those various high-pressure sales tactics, when a contractor says, ‘We’re able to assist you now, but if you wait any longer there may be a long line,'” George said.

The BBB says these “fly-by-night” contractors don’t just prey on people in person. They call, text, email and sometimes even use postal mail to target residents of affected areas.

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Here are some tips from the BBB to avoid being scammed:

  • Be suspicious of contractors who request wire transfers for payment
  • Never hand over any payments upfront for services that have not been rendered
  • Ask for an ID and proof the contractor is insured
  • Get more than one estimate for the clean-up/repair job
  • Request a written contract or invoice, complete with contact information and detailed descriptions of services to be completed

If you feel like you’ve been scammed, contact your local authorities immediately. You can also file reports with the BBB and the Federal Trade Commission.