BILLINGS, Mont. -- Kimberly Welzenbach, Executive Officer of the Home Builders Association, says illegitimate contractors will come in and try to scam residents after a storm.
"It seems like Billings is the hub for fly by night contractors in the state of Montana. After a storm they just come out of the woodwork from everywhere. A lot of the times these guys that come knocking on your doors are not local, they're not legitimate contractors, they don't have business licenses, they're not registered in Billings or the state," says Welzenbach.
Welzenbach says a lot of times they will ask for the money up front and once you hand it over -- it's usually too late. A valid and licensed contractor will typically only ask for a twenty to fifty percent deposit and will have the transaction written out in a detailed contract.
Luckily, Welzenbach says there are a few ways to look out for scammers, "One of the things that I would do is ask them where their physical business office is. Are they located here? Do they have a city business license? Where are they based out of?" Welzenbach also says to be weary of contractors with out of state plates or rental cars.
If you are unsure whether a contractor is legitimate, you can contact the home builders association at (406) 252-7533.
"Contact the Home Builders Association. Nine times out of ten we can let you know if they're registered with the state, if they're a member, if they're local, and if they're legitimate," continues Welzenbach.