When temperatures drop below freezing in Texas with a bit of freezing rain and snow, it's usually not a winter wonderland for us. That rain and snow turns our roads and driveways into skating rinks. That makes traveling extremely treacherous even if four wheel drive is used (four wheel drive is useless on ice). Those below freezing temperatures also bring the possibility of damage to our homes because of busted water lines or even roof damage. Scammers will use the thaw afterwards to their advantage and try to steal your money.

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Storm Chasers

No matter the time of year; spring, summer, fall or winter; no matter the storm; tornado, flood, ice or snow; scammers will use these natural disasters to try and steal and your money. They'll do it under the premise of being able to fix your problem at a cheaper rate than any of the licensed contractors or professional businesses in the area. It all sounds great and you think a great service is being performed but that just simply isn't the case. These people are called storm chasers and should be avoided at all cost.

How to Identify Them

The easiest way to identify one of these storm chasers is by them knocking on your door out of the blue and saying they can inspect your home for any damage. Another red flag is they will give you an estimate for the work and then ask for upwards of 50 percent of the cost up front before starting any work. A final red flag, and one where you realize you've been duped, is when they postpone the work for whatever reason, continue to postpone the work and then cease communication with you all together.

How to Properly Get the Work Done

Find a licensed contractor or business to do the work or be referred to them by your insurance company. You will need to contact them to come out and do an inspection. They will not ask for an exuberant amount of money up front, if at all, to do the work. A legitimate business will keep in contact with you while doing the work.

We all hate a winter storm like we just got out of. Don't let a scammer extend the misery of the event by stealing your hard earned money.

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