3 On Your Side

It pays to prepare before monsoon hits

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When floods hit, scammers are not far behind. (Source: 3TV) When floods hit, scammers are not far behind. (Source: 3TV)

Dust, wind, rain -- it's all coming soon to the Valley and with it, probably quite a bit of flooding.

"It's just something we know is going to happen every year. So that's why our message is, 'Be prepared,'" said Felicia Thompson of the Phoenix Better Business Bureau.

The Valley was hit hard by monsoon floods a year ago. The rushing water virtually wiped out much of one Mesa neighborhood.

"If you know you had issues last monsoon season, take a look at your home and call you insurance company now and find out the policy's things that are covered, making sure you're being proactive in getting things fixed before an actual storm occurs," Thompson said.

The BBB has just released its 5 Red Flags of a Monsoon Repair Scam that consumers need to remember.

For instance, you need to be on the lookout for scam contractors who troll neighborhoods after a flood. They look for desperate homeowners, pressure them into signing contracts and usually ask for money up front to start repairs.

"There are folks that are going to come in from out of state or just come up from out of the woodworks to mislead you and make you think they're going to help you fix your damaged property, home, roof, car -- things like that -- but in all actuality they just want your money," Thompson said.

Last year, 3 On Your Side tagged along with a pair of investigators from the Arizona Registrar of Contractors as they went through a flood-ravaged Mesa neighborhood making sure contractors doing repairs were properly licensed.

While we were with them, they came across at least one contractor who was unlicensed.

Thompson has some advice if your home is damaged due to bad weather: Don't panic, don't fall for a contractor's scare tactics about starting repairs immediately and don't rush to sign paperwork if a contractor shows up at your door after a storm.

"But you can still check them out with the Better Business Bureau," Thompson said. "Number one, find out if they are a legitimate company and not wandering in, and also making sure that they are going to keep your best interest in mind."

Additional resources

BBB: Five tips to recover after a monsoon
Arizona Registrar of Contractors

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