Be Cautious When Hiring Contractors To Repair Flood Damage

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SOMERSET—“Be alert to anyone who claims to be a FEMA representative and is seeking or offering services but cannot produce a FEMA identification (ID) badge,” says FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer William L.Vogel. “Anyone associated with FEMA always has a picture ID, and residents should feel free to ask to see it.”

“We are asking residents to be mindful of those who seek to deceive businesses and individuals,” State Coordinating Officer Lt. Bill McDonnell said. “Never give out personal information and beware of those saying New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (NJOEM) or FEMA will pay for a service.”

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If someone claims to represent FEMA or the state and cannot produce the badge, contact your local law enforcement officials.

There is never a charge for any FEMA program or service. The best defense against scam artists and fraudulent contractors is a well-informed public.

Flood victims are particularly warned to use care when hiring contractors to repair flood-damaged property.

FEMA does not recommend or endorse any contractors. “If contractors claim they are authorized by FEMA to do repair work, do not believe it,” Vogel said.

Tips for hiring contractors include:

  • Get a written estimate
  • Check references
  • Ask for proof of insurance
  • Use reliable, licensed contractors
  • Insist on a written contract
  • Get any guarantees in writing
  • Make final payments only when work is completed
  • Canceling a contract should be done within three business days of signing.

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