Important to be aware of potential scams as tornado cleanup continues

BESSEMER, Ala. (WIAT) — Church volunteers and relief organizations have been onsite in Bessemer helping cleanup in neighborhoods impacted by last week’s tornado.

Inevitably, though, some people will be looking to take advantage of storm victims.

Several neighbors in the area tell CBS42 they have been approached by people offering to cut down trees. However, the people who approach them don’t look very reputable.

Officers guard the entrance and exits to the heavily-damaged area in Bessemer, but according to some neighbors, scammers are still making their way into the area.

There’s still a lot of cleanup work to be done, and people looking to make an extra buck know that’s the case.

Lisa Marbutt works with Brookstone Restoration and has seen the scamming take place.

“People just stop by and say they can take care of things. The main thing is, make sure they’re a reputable person or reputable company,” Marbutt said.

Not only could accepting help from the wrong person put someone on the end of a bad deal, but if the company isn’t insured, you could have an even bigger problem.

“If someone gets hurt on your property, they’re removing a tree, they’re on your house, guess whose liability is responsible? If they don’t have liability, it’s gonna fall back on you,” advised Marbutt.

That advice is especially important considering how dangerous the cleanup work is in Bessemer.

It may sound simple, but cutting corners in choosing a company is a quick way to make a stressful situation even worse.

Marbutt also urges people to check with their insurance company before they hire anyone to remove trees or do any serious repairs.

Oftentimes, insurance companies will have three or four companies for you to choose from that they have worked with in the past.

To check and see if a company you’re working with is reputable, visit the Better Business Bureau, and ask for company references and call them.

Copyright 2014 WIAT-TV CBS42


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