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Koehler urges caution to avoid scams in wake of Lewistown tornado

koehler 120418LEWISTOWN – State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is urging area residents to be cautious of scams in the wake of a tornado that rolled through southern Fulton County last weekend.

“After these disasters happen, some people will inevitably prey on those affected,” Koehler said. “I urge all residents in Fulton County to proceed with caution and do their due diligence when accepting help.”

Anyone who witnesses suspicious activity can report it to the Illinois Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Hotline in Springfield by calling 1-800-243-0618.

Saturday’s tornado moved through the Lewistown area, causing damage to structures and trees. No one was reported hurt or missing,

Area residents should follow these steps to avoid scams:

  • Be wary of contractors who go door to door to offer repair services. Ask for recommendations from people you know and trust and, whenever possible, use established local contractors.
  • Call the Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Hotline (1-800-243-0618) to check out a contractor and to learn if any complaints have been filed against a particular business.
  • Visit the Better Business Bureau’s central Illinois , St. Louis or Chicago websites to see if a business is a member and whether any complaints have been lodged against it.
  • Even if there is a need to act quickly, get written estimates from multiple contractors, and don’t be rushed into a deal.
  • Get all of the terms of a contract in writing, and obtain a copy of the signed contract.
  • Never make full payment until all the work has been completed to your satisfaction.
  • Never pay in cash.
  • Be aware that you have the right to cancel a contract within three business days if you signed it based on the contractor’s visit to your home.
  • In the case of disaster repair, you have an additional right to cancel. If your insurance carrier denies coverage, you have the right to cancel the contract within five days of when your insurance carrier denies your coverage.
  • Ask to see required state and local permits and licenses. Insurance adjusters and roofers must be licensed by state agencies. If the contractor does not have a required license, or if the name on the license doesn’t match the name on the contractor’s business card or truck, that should raise a red flag. Please visit the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s website to search licenses. Contact the Department of Insurance at (866) 445-5364 to verify that the public adjuster is licensed and in good standing.

 

 

Sen. David Koehler


46th District

Years served:
Appointed December 2006; Elected 2008 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture (Vice-Chairperson); Local Government; Transportation; Committee of the Whole; Environment and Conservation (Chairperson); Labor.

Biography: Born and raised in South Dakota, moved to Peoria in 1978; B.A., Yankton College, 1971; M.A. in divinity, United Theological Seminary, 1974; staff member, National Farm Worker Ministry; community organizer and program manager, Peoria Friendship House; executive director, Peoria Area Labor Management Council; president, Labor Management Cooperative Health Programs Inc.; Peoria County Board member, 1982-88; Peoria City Council member, 1989-97 (mayor pro tem, 1993-94); first elected to Senate in 2006; married with three daughters, a son-in-law and two granddaughters.

Associated Representative(s): Michael Unes, Jehan A. Gordon-Booth