Watch out for ‘storm chasers’ looking for work, BBB warns

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Better Business Bureau is warning of scammers looking to take advantage of people who need help cleaning up after an EF-1 tornado tore through parts of Memphis on Monday.

Roy Brown was removing tree limbs from his front yard Tuesday in Parkway Village, which was hit hard by the tornado. Brown said he's fortunate they didn't hit his house, though others aren't so lucky.

He’s already noticed contractors out looking to pick up work.

“I’ve seen them today and yesterday," he said. "They’re already out here just like vultures. You just have to be careful and know who you’re dealing with.”

That sentiment is echoed by the BBB, which warns that a few dishonest people are looking to cash in at the expense of those in need.

"You want to be careful of people who knock on your door unsolicited," said Randy Hutchinson with BBB. "May be honest, but it’s hard to separate the honest ones from the many that are not, including what we call storm chasers, who are handymen who go from town to town chasing bad weather, looking to pick up work.”

He says to take time to do your due diligence before agreeing to any major repairs.

"You want to look for proper paperwork. You want to look at the truck. Does the truck have a company name, out-of-state tags, those are all red flags,” he said.

And don't be pressured if they ask you to pay up front, and they only accept cash.

"Obviously big red flags," Hutchinson said. "You want to get everything in writing.”

If you’re unsure about who to do work with, the Better Business Bureau has a list of licensed companies in Shelby County you can choose from. Click here for the link.

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