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A torrent of scams

(BCR photo/Donna Barker)
Chuck Putts of Princeton stands by the damaged foundation along the back of his home, resulting from the April 17-18 heavy rains that flooded his basement. When he checked his basement on the morning of April 18, the water was up to the third step of his basement stairs. At one point, his entire basement was estimated to be filled with 7 feet, 2 inches of water. The water has been pumped out, but about 4 feet of mud remains in the back, lower section of the basement.

PRINCETON — Bureau County residents are urged to be aware of home repair con artists who could exploit people who just want to get their basements cleaned up after the recent heavy rains.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has issued a statement warning Illinois residents to be on the alert for home repair con artists, especially after the April 17-18 heavy rains and floods that damaged so many homes across the state.

Madigan said home repair scammers are known to move into affected areas to take advantage of people rushing to secure their property and make repairs. These “storm chasers” try to catch people off-guard to pressure them into making a quick, often expensive, decision, she said.

Illinois residents and business owners are urged to call the Consumer Fraud Hotline (800-386-5438) to report any suspicious activity. Investigators with Madigan’s office will look into complaints received about area contractors.

Bureau County Sheriff John Thompson said Madigan has made some very valid points in her warning to Illinois residents. As seen across the state, he has seen an increase of home repair fraud locally since the recent rains.

To safeguard themselves, people should know their vendors and to review the quality of their work done on local projects, Thompson said, adding residents should not make 100 percent payment of a job before it is finished.

As he has said before, Bureau County residents can contact his department or other law enforcement agencies if they have concerns about the validity of an offer.

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