Flood victims beware, scam artists on the prowl

By Audrey Williams

April 22, 2013 Updated Apr 22, 2013 at 10:45 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- It's the old adage...if it's too good to be true it probably is. Better Business Bureau officials say already scammers are preying on local flood victims, including one Peoria woman.

"They stopped by offering to do some gutter repair, while they were outside showing her the work to be done, one gentleman went inside her house, into her bedroom and it's not known if they actually took anything, but she is talking with law enforcement now," said Jessica Tharp, Vice President of the local BBB.

Tharp said don't feel pressured to make a decision right away and get everything in writing before work is done.

"The good guys are swamped right now, there not out going door to door looking for business at this point. So if someone is coming door to door offering to do work for you that's a really big red flag," she said.

The BBB office is closed due to flooding, but they are still taking calls and answering e-mails. For company verification or to report a scam you can call them at 688-5124.

Meanwhile, Sherill Campbell, a State Farm agent in Peoria, said many time your insurance company can suggest some reputable companies.

He said so far, State Farm has taken 9,000 homeowners claims throughout the state, but often times people aren't covered for this type of flooding.

"The hardest part is to tell them there is no coverage for flood under the homeowners policy," said Campbell.

Campbell's office has received hundreds of calls, but they've only taken about 30 claims. He says now might be the time to review your coverage options, if you haven't already.

"They do have a chance to take out what we call back up of sewer and drain coverage, which covers the sump pump malfunctioning as well as the back up of sewage and draining coming up from below," he said.

For those worried about flood insurance, homeowners need to determine if the premiums are worth it for very rare flooding added Campbell.

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