'It's quite the mess': As storm victims begin cleanup efforts, BBB warns to watch out for scams

NOW: ’It’s quite the mess’: As storm victims begin cleanup efforts, BBB warns to watch out for scams


WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Lynn Dwight spends a lot of her time sitting outside on her backyard patio in Waukesha. Now, her time is going to be spent cleaning up the damage caused by Sunday night's storms.

"It's quite the mess," Dwight said. "Gutters are gone. The soffit is gone. Gutters laying all over."

Fortunately, Lynn and her family were not injured by the falling debris. Now, her focus is on getting her beloved patio and her home fixed up.

"Obviously, this is going to be a big job," Dwight said. "I don't know where to start. I'm kind of just waiting."

Dwight says she has reached out to her insurance company and filed a claim. The next step, she expects, will be hiring someone to help her fix the damage. She says she's aware scammers like to try and take advantage of storm victims.

"A huge concern, not just with the tree removal but basics like the gutter and anything else," Dwight said. "Hopefully, they'll (insurance company) put me in the right direction with a good contractor."

Lisa Schiller is a lead investigator and media relations specialist with the Better Business Bureau. She says it's important for people like Lynn to do their research before hiring a contractor.

"It can feel very overwhelming," Schiller said. "Storm victims should never feel pressured to make a decision on their doorstep or by going with an unknown contractor. Make temporary repairs, if necessary, so you can take the time to choose a trustworthy contractor and really take your time in making that choice."

Along with taking your time, Schiller says it's important for homeowners to document the damage to their homes and property and not to make any permanent repairs until you get approval from the insurance company.

"You want to make sure your insurance fully covers you, or you know how much money you'll be reimbursed for any repairs you have done," Schiller explained. "Document the damage to your property and maybe your automobiles or whatever has been damaged at all."

Schiller encourages people to visit the Better Business Bureau's website to check if a company is accredited and reputable.

You can also use the BBB's scam tracker tool HERE.

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