Better Business Bureau warns of contractor scams ahead of winter storm

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Better Business Bureau is warning people of scammers during the expected winter storm starting Friday. Many people experiencing flood damage will look for help.

“We’re going to have some crazy weather coming up so it’s always good to make sure that you’re prepared,” said Melanie McGovern, with the Better Business Bureau.

After spring like temperatures Wednesday, prepare for more winter weather as ice, freezing rain and snow are expected — causing possible flooding.

That’s why the Better Business Bureau wants people to beware of “storm chasers.”

“People who come out after a storm they go door to door they tell you what they think is wrong with your house, they try to sell you a service. They ask for cash up front. And 9 times out of ten they don’t come back,” said McGovern.

Melanie McGovern says many people use recommendations from neighbors on the Next Door app, but she says still do your research on a company first. She says if a contractor shows up to your home, here are some things to look for:

Look at the person’s truck and make sure it has in-state license plates

Check for a phone number, an address, and company name.

“Any reputable company will let you check them out first they’ll leave a business card, they’ll leave a phone number, so it’s always good to do that research before you hire anybody on the spot,” said McGovern.

McGovern says never hire anyone over the phone.

“If you’re dealing with damage to a basement or damage to your yard you want to make sure that contractor takes the time to come out to your property, to see the damage to do that assessment,” said McGovern.

Once a contractor has checked the damage to your home, McGovern says always get 3 bids. But she says remember that the cheapest option isn’t always the best one.

“Every time there’s a natural disaster we see scammers trying to take advantage of people,” said McGovern.

McGovern says businesses aren’t required to be accredited by BBB but it’s always important to check.

She chances are if the company has a rating or accreditation it’s legitimate. To search a business with the Better Business Bureau, click here. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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