Post-storm scams to watch out for - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Post-storm scams to watch out for

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Many are still dealing with flood waters, others are now dealing with the aftermath, rehabbing homes and getting back to normal, but a concern may be finding the right people to do the job.

Furniture, boxes and personal belongings are fixtures outside a flood victim's home, but they're also an easy target for those looking to rip someone off.

Some people say they've already had a run-in with scam artists, others have not, but representatives with the BBB say in the wake of disaster, we can predict they’re on the way.

The worst part, they travel from other states just to rip you off.

"You're gonna see a lot of people traveling to this area to claim to help you repair your roof or remove trees, or remove debris,” Coastal Carolina BBB CEO Kathy Graham said.

Despite how fast you want to get out of the flood, Graham said, you need to be proactive instead of reactive. For example, do your homework. If someone comes to your door, look at their license plate, ask for insurance, credentials and references.

If someone is high pressuring you, that scares you into making a poor decision, like handing over cash, Graham said.

This is a very emotional time for many people and the last thing you want to do is live through more devastation.

If you're looking to buy a car, or are getting one fixed, you also need to be on high alert.

Car mechanics have been busy in their shops, fixing up cars which got stuck in flood waters, many of which suffered severe damage.

"We've been pretty inundated with flood vehicles, mostly no starts,” Barry Abrams, C&G Auto Service Manager said.

Imagine how many other shops are flooded with the same problems?

"A lot of the time after a vehicle floods, there's so many electronic components under the hood and the inside of the vehicle it takes a while for everything to start acting up,” Abrams said. “In other words, the water gets in there, sits in there for a while causes resistance and everything starts burning up on it and sometimes it takes six months for that to happen."

That also means people could be selling flood damaged cars, which is why many auto-shops say post-flood is the worst time to buy a car, unless you inspect before you write the check.

Abrams recommends you look through the grill of the car and see if there are watermarks or stains.

“Just like if you flooded at your house and you've got a water mark up the wall of your house, you're gonna have the same thing on a vehicle,” he said.

Check inside the car too, because you may smell mold, or if you lift the carpet, you might even see fungus growing near it.

Other things to check on are if seat brackets have rust or the seat motors are working.

"I would urge everyone who's in the market for a used car now, in the next few months, wherever they have the work done on their previous or current car, do a pre-buy check out on it," he said.

Abrams said many places, including C&G Auto, do it free.

The Horry County Police Department said there have been no reports of scams yet, but the county urges we stay on high alert for them during the flood and through the end of the year as we reach the holidays.

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