BBB: Beware of shady contractors, storm chasers during tornado aftermath

The aftermath of a crisis unfortunately brings out contractors who take advantage of those who have already been impacted.

RELATED: Tornado clean-up: What to know about scams, safety and insurance claims

Better Business Bureau is warning residents affected by the recent storms to beware of storm chasers and out-of-town contractors soliciting business.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to those impacted by these devastating tornadoes. Unfortunately, some will be swindled by dishonest contractors and bogus charities,” said John North, president and CEO of BBB serving Dayton and the Miami Valley.

BBB offers the following tips for storm victims:

  • Get and compare multiple written estimates based on the same specifications. Make sure the contractors create itemized estimates so you can compare cost, efficiency and warranties.
  • Recognize the red flags. Don't fall for high-pressure sales tactics. Be wary of door-to-door workers who claim to have left-over materials from a job down the street or who do not have a permanent/local place of business.
  • Verify the contractor is registered to do business in Ohio. Visit and look under business services.
  • Make sure contractors are licensed, bonded and insured as appropriate.
  • Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Don't pay for work in full in advance. A good guideline is to pay by the rule of thirds: pay one-third deposit, one-third when the job is 50% complete and one-third once the job is completed.
  • Get everything is in writing. Make sure that the full scope of the work is explained in the contract including payment terms, material and labor prices, cleanup and disposal of waste. All verbal agreements need to be included, as well as warranties and guarantees.
  • Check that the contractor's vehicle has signs or markings on it with the business name, phone number and license plates for your state.
  • Make sure donations will go to legitimate and reputable charities and relief efforts that have the capability to help those in need

Victims of severe storm damage should take their time and carefully choose contractors to hire to help with repairs and charities to donate to.

Start with companies and charities you can trust by going to or calling (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301