Flood victims, beware of scamming solicitors

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HOUSTON, TX - Ride through areas hit hardest by the May flooding, and you can see the signs, on almost every corner. Most of these contractors are probably honestly looking to help these folks, and looking for a good, honest day's work - but unfortunately, some might not be.

Ben Friedman, a Meyerland resident came home to a surprise, “We had two carpet guys and they`re walking right into people`s houses…caught one guy with his tape measure out…they shouldn`t be doing that, they should at least be waiting for the home owner.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has already warned off scammers in this statement:

“The last thing people who have lost everything need are bad actors taking advantage of their circumstances.”

So what might be a red flag you're dealing with a "bad actor"?

For one, when people show up at your door unsolicited, in a hurry to get started, be cautious.

Leah Napoliello, with the Better Business Bureau of Houston, advises, “Don`t sign anything, don`t allow them to start work right away, just ask for their information and then research that at a later time.”

Also, if anyone asks you to pay in cash, or up front - don`t!

“If you pay cash up front, and it`s not a legitimate company, they are just going to take that money and run. They could be out-of-town the next day and you`re not going to ever get that money back, unfortunately,” Napoliello explains.

Remember you can always check with the Better Business Bureau to see if the contractor has racked up any complaints.

The instinct is to fix it as soon as possible but a little more head ache now in the form of research can save you a huge migraine in the long run.