Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Service/Contractor Scams

A frequent problem after a disaster is “fly-by-night” contractors who take deposits before starting work or who take final payment before finishing the job. Service scams all have the same target: your wallet.

Be cautious of repair businesses or individuals who:

  • Solicit door-to-door,
  • Arrive in unmarked vehicles,
  • Have a post office box or temporary address,
  • Claim they are from another county or state and are in the area solely to help disaster victims, or
  • Claim that they were doing work in the area and noticed that your home needed repairs.

Protect Yourself from Service/Contractor Scams

Follow these tips to protect yourself:

  • If your home is in need of repair, you should get at least three itemized estimates. Check each contractor’s address, license and complaint history by calling the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) at (850) 487-1395 or by visiting DBPR's website.
  • Never agree to a cash-only deal. Ask for a written estimate and inspect the terms carefully before signing and agreeing to any offer.
  • Remember that honest contractors earn the majority of their business through referrals from satisfied customers. They don't have to travel door-to-door to find business.
  • Ask contractors to justify their bids by listing the work/materials that are included. This allows you to make valid comparisons between estimates.