Residents in Connecticut are urged to remain on high alert following reports of scam efforts in areas still without power or where heavy damage occurred as a result of Tropical Storm Isaias.
Attorney General William Tong said Monday that Connecticut residents have reported individuals, some claiming to work for utility companies, going door to door and offering to reconnect electric power, repair roofs, remove trees or do other work in exchange for cash. Eversource and other utility companies, and their authorized contractors, always carry identification and none will ask for payments from consumers.
“With some Connecticut residents still waiting desperately for their power to be reconnected and or trees to be removed from their driveways, it is important to be vigilant of bad actors looking to make money off vulnerable, frustrated people,” Tong said in a press release. “Always verify the legitimacy of a contractor or business offering to do work for you.”
Tong advises Connecticut residents to hire only contractors licensed by the state to repair damage to their homes and property. Consumers should always verify the registration and insurance of any individual or company before allowing them to work on their property.
When contracting for home repairs, homeowners should always use licensed local contractors, and ask for and investigate their references. Furthermore, be sure to ask for a written estimate from at least three contractors that include labor and materials, read the fine print before signing a contract, and do not pay a contractor in-full in advance.
He further cautioned consumers against purchasing electrical generators from unlicensed retailers, sometimes from the backs of trucks.
"There are serious risks posed by a damaged or defective generator and consumers should only purchase them from a reputable business," he said.
Consumers can check and verify whether a contractor is licensed in Connecticut at https://www.elicense.ct.gov/Lookup/LicenseLookup.aspx.
Suspected scams can be reported to the Office of the Attorney General at email@example.com or to the Department of Consumer Protection’s Hotline at 800-842 2649 during business hours and at 860-713-6160 after hours and on the weekend.
— Jason Vallee