“Sadly, Utah’s wildfires have left many property owners in a very vulnerable situation. Even though you may be in a hurry to make home repairs, don’t let others take advantage the second time around,” cautioned Francine A. Giani, “It just takes five minutes to make sure your contractor is licensed or to check that your donation is going to a charity registered with the State.”
Tips to avoid wildfire-related Scams
Door-to-Door Service Offers
Make sure any contractor offering fire repair services is licensed with the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL) at the following website; www.dopl.utah.gov or by calling (801) 530-6626.
Consumers may also check to see if the individual or company has faced prior disciplinary action at www.dopl.utah.gov
Get any contract terms in writing. Don’t fall for high pressure sales tactics when someone shows up at your door promising cheap materials and labor.
Solicitations for donations to groups or charities
Donate to charities with a track record and a history. Charities that spring up overnight may disappear just as quickly especially on the internet.
Check out an organization before donating. Some phony charities use names, seals and logos that look or sound like those of respected, legitimate organizations.
Do not send or give cash donations. For security and tax record purposes, it is best to pay by check made payable to the charity.
Ask for a receipt showing the amount of your contribution.
Be wary of promises of guaranteed sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a contribution. You never have to give a donation to be eligible to win a sweepstakes.
Call the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at (801) 530-6601 to see whether the charity or fundraising organization has to be registered in Utah or log on to: www.consumerprotection.utah.gov