As spring is upon us, the warmer weather and damage from severe storms draw scam artists to our state posing as local contractors willing to do home repair work, but Iowans need to beware. The Iowa Department of Public Safety says home repair scams are one of the most common scams targeting the elderly and other vulnerable victims. Scammers frequently offer services like blacktop or asphalt paving, tree trimming, brick glazing, lawn fertilizing and gutter and roof repairs, often following severe weather damage and other natural disasters.
Scam artists are more likely to use in-person, door-to-door solicitations, offering low prices and quick work, within an hour or two. Some scam artists provide “work and run” scams, where they perform low-quality work or partial work and then disappear. Others collect all money up front and never provide any work promised. Some scam artists are known to commit identity theft by requesting or looking at personal and financial documents while completing home repairs and then sell or use that information to defraud homeowners.
Homeowners also need to know what services are free. Some scammers request payment for free services like offering to disconnect and reconnect utilities, which is done for free by utility companies. Others offer, for a fee, to speed up the process for obtaining a building permit or obtaining insurance. Speeding up those processes is not possible, especially by a third party.
DPS offers some tips to protect you from scammers:
Avoid on-the-spot contracts and read through all contracts before signing. Do not let the contractor rush you into signing by saying that other consumers will take your place if you wait.
Before you enter into a contract, check with the Better Business Bureau, the Iowa Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division, and several references.
Avoid out-of-area business. Check the contractor’s registration with the Iowa Division of Labor and proof of liability insurance.
Get all prices in writing. Don’t pay a large amount in advance. Pay materials suppliers directly, when possible.
Negotiate any insurance repairs and payments directly with your insurance company, and don’t let the contractor negotiate the agreement for you.
Spell out, in writing, the scope of the work to be done and the quality (or brand) of materials to be used. Do not sign a contract that lets the contractor decide the scope and materials with your insurance company, or you may be forced to pay liquidated damages to cancel the contract if you don’t like their decisions.
Write down license plate numbers of salespeople, contractors and workers.
You have the right to cancel within THREE business days, and the right to a full refund within ten business days, of most door-to-door sales, or sales made at a place other than the seller’s normal place of business.
Shred all documents that contain any personal or financial information or Personal Identification Numbers (PINs).
If you believe you are a victim of a scam, call your local law enforcement. Contact the Iowa Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division, online or by calling (515) 281-5926.
Here’s the Freese-Notis Weather forecast for Atlantic & the KJAN listening area:
Today: Cloudy w/light rain. High 46. Winds Northwest @ 15-25 mph.
Tonight: Mostly cloudy w/rain ending. Low 40. NW @ 15-25.
Tomorrow: Mostly cloudy w/isolated showers. High 51. NW @ 15-25.
Tom. Night: Becoming partly cloudy w/area of fog. Low 37.
Friday: Partly Cloudy. High in the mid-60’s.
Saturday: P/Cldy w/isolated showers. High in the mid-60’s.
Tuesday’s High in Atlantic was 50. Our low through 5:30-a.m. today was 38. We received .06″ of an inch of rain yesterday through early this morning. Last year on this date we reached a High of 82 in Atlantic. The Low was 48. All-time Record High on this date: 92 in 1926. The Record Low: 19 in 1958. Sunrise today is at 6:19. Sunset will be at 8:16.
347 AM CDT WED APR 30 2014
EARLY THIS MORNING…CLOUDY WITH A 50 PERCENT CHANCE OF LIGHT RAIN. NORTHWEST WIND 10 TO 15 MPH WITH GUSTS TO AROUND 25 MPH.
TODAY…CLOUDY. A CHANCE OF LIGHT RAIN IN THE MORNING…THEN LIGHT RAIN LIKELY IN THE AFTERNOON. BREEZY. HIGH IN THE MID 40S. NORTHWEST WIND 15 TO 20 MPH WITH GUSTS TO AROUND 30 MPH. CHANCE OF RAIN 70 PERCENT.
TONIGHT…CLOUDY. A CHANCE OF LIGHT RAIN UNTIL EARLY MORNING…THEN A SLIGHT CHANCE OF LIGHT RAIN EARLY IN THE MORNING. BREEZY. LOW IN THE UPPER 30S. NORTHWEST WIND 15 TO 20 MPH. CHANCE OF RAIN 50 PERCENT.
THURSDAY…CLOUDY. A CHANCE OF LIGHT RAIN IN THE MORNING…THEN A SLIGHT CHANCE OF LIGHT RAIN IN THE AFTERNOON. BREEZY. HIGH IN THE LOWER 50S. NORTHWEST WIND 15 TO 20 MPH WITH GUSTS TO AROUND 30 MPH. CHANCE OF RAIN 30 PERCENT.
THURSDAY NIGHT…MOSTLY CLOUDY. LOW IN THE MID 30S. WEST WIND 5 TO 15 MPH. GUSTS UP TO 25 MPH THROUGH MIDNIGHT.
FRIDAY…MOSTLY SUNNY. WARMER. HIGH IN THE MID 60S. WEST WIND 10 TO 15 MPH WITH GUSTS TO AROUND 25 MPH.
SATURDAY…PARTLY SUNNY. HIGH IN THE MID 60S.
SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OMAHA/VALLEY NEBRASKA
1243 PM CDT MON APR 28 2014
SHELBY IA-HARRISON IA-MONONA IA-
1243 PM CDT MON APR 28 2014
…SIGNIFICANT WEATHER ADVISORY FOR WESTERN SHELBY…NORTHEASTERN
HARRISON AND SOUTHEASTERN MONONA COUNTIES UNTIL 130 PM CDT…
AT 1242 PM CDT…DOPPLER RADAR WAS TRACKING A STRONG THUNDERSTORM 10
MILES WEST OF EARLING…OR 21 MILES SOUTHWEST OF DENISON…MOVING
NORTHWEST AT 15 MPH.
NICKEL SIZE HAIL WILL BE POSSIBLE WITH THIS STORM.
LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE…
MOORHEAD…DUNLAP…SOLDIER…SCHABEN PARK AND PREPARATION CANYON
OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) – Iowa authorities are tallying up the damage and injuries caused by powerful storms that struck the state. The National Weather Service says the storms damaged a number of Iowa towns as gusts neared 90 mph and hail up to an inch in diameter fell on Sunday.
The service says radar data suggested that a tornado struck the southern Iowa city of Ottumwa. City officials told The Ottumwa Courier that several homes were damaged and some residents were injured near Liberty Elementary School on the southwest side of Ottumwa. Assistant Fire Chief Mike Craff says it’s unclear how many people were hurt.
A storm was blamed for a person’s death in the Keokuk County town of Kinross, but a county dispatcher said Monday morning that she couldn’t provide any information.
Today: Mostly Cloudy a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms. High near 67. Southeast wind 15-20mph.New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Tonight: A 60% chance of showers and thunderstorms, Low around 46. South wind 5 to 10 mph becoming north northeast after midnight. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Tuesday: A 100% chance of showers. High near 51. North-northwest wind 10 to 25 mph. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.
Tues. Night: An 80% chance of showers, mainly before 1am. Low around 38. North -northwest wind 15 to 30 mph. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Wednesday: A 40 percent chance of showers. High near 51. Northwest wind 15 to 30 mph. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Wed. Night: A 40 percent chance of showers. Low around 39. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Thursday: A 40 percent chance of showers. High near 51.
Sunday’s High in Atlantic was 65. Our Low through 4:30-a.m. today was 51. Rain in Atlantic Sunday amounted to .46″.
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF…DENISON…CARROLL…JEFFERSON
410 PM CDT SUN APR 27 2014
…STRONG EASTERLY WINDS FOR THE NEXT FEW HOURS…
EASTERLY WINDS HAVE INCREASED TO 25 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS TO NEAR
45 MPH. THE WINDS WILL REMAIN BRISK INTO THE LATE AFTERNOON AND
DIMINISH THIS EVENING. LOOSE OBJECTS ARE LIKELY TO BLOW AROUND AND
TRAVEL WITH HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES MAY BE DIFFICULT AT TIMES FOR
THE NEXT SEVERAL HOURS.
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DES MOINES IA
349 PM CDT SUN APR 27 2014
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS CANCELLED TORNADO WATCH 95 FOR
THE FOLLOWING AREAS… IN IOWA THIS CANCELS 16 COUNTIES
IN CENTRAL IOWA: DALLAS POLK
IN SOUTH CENTRAL IOWA: CLARKE DECATUR LUCAS MADISON RINGGOLD UNION
IN SOUTHWEST IOWA: ADAIR ADAMS CASS TAYLOR
IN WEST CENTRAL IOWA: AUDUBON GUTHRIE
THIS INCLUDES THE CITIES OF…ADAIR…ADEL…ALLERTON…
INDIANOLA…LAMONI…LENOX…LEON…MOUNT AYR…NEW MARKET…
WAUKEE AND WINTERSET.