Tips to avoid scammers when looking for storm repair -

Tips to avoid scammers when looking for storm repair

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. ( - With storms throughout the St. Louis area, fly-by-night contractors may be looking to target those needing damage repaired. 

Two years ago, Patrick Richard and his company 'All Seasons' offered door-to-door services, scamming homeowners by skipping town after getting customers to sign over their insurance checks. 

Read: Contractor who ripped off St. Louisans sentenced in Ohio

Richard is just one example of the many crooked contractors encountered by News 4's Chris Nagus, who has a few tips for how to protect yourself from such scams. 

First, be leery of anyone that approaches you. You should be calling the contractor, not the other way around. 

You also shouldn't be forced to give a down payment, especially for roofing work. Many roofing companies in the St. Louis area will do work and request payment only after a job is finished. If you do pay for materials in advance make sure it's cash on delivery, that way you will have the materials on your property in case the contractor disappears. 

You're also warned to avoid paying with a check. Once the check is cashed the money is gone and can't be retrieved. If you pay with a credit card you can dispute any charges if the business folds or if the contractor disappears. 

Tune in to News 4 at 5 and 6 on more information on ways to protect yourself. 
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