When a disaster strikes, there are steps you can take to help your community avoid fraud and start the recovery process.
Consider issuing a disaster declaration
If a disaster is declared by state or county officials, contractors from outside the area cannot require payment in advance and authorities can control access to affected areas.
Business and Commerce Code section 58.003
Government Code section. 418.108
Review local requirements
Depending on whether or not permits are already required locally, you may want to review existing rules or consider adding new ones.
- Are permits required for solicitors, building and general contractors, and towing companies? Some areas require permits after a disaster or stop issuing new permits to businesses from outside the area for a while.
- What are the minimum standards for new permits? Some areas require contractors to have been in business for at least two years. It’s a good practice to require an address and telephone number you can verify.
- Is there a requirement to register contractor crew members?
- Are contractors required to have proof of insurance including general liability, workers’ compensation, construction bonds, and liability insurance for all vehicles?
- Do roof repairs require building permits?
- Are solicitors and contractors required to have government-issued photo IDs? Some areas conduct warrant and sex offender registration checks on all permit applicants.
- Use social media to warn residents of potential fraud. Our toolkit includes sample posts you can use to get started.
- Post fraud warnings in public places. We have posters you can print for use at home improvement stores, grocery stores, and your offices. There’s a space to add your contact information.
- Warn residents about identity theft. Thieves can use the confusion after a storm to steal personal information like Social Security or bank account numbers. For example, scam artists may pretend to be from a government agency, nonprofit, or insurance company and ask for sensitive information.
- Texas Department of Insurance
Fraud Unit: 512-676-6285
Consumer Help Line: 800-252-3439
- Texas Attorney General 800-337-3928
- Federal Emergency Management Agency 800-621-3362
- Red Cross 800-733-2767
- Texas Windstorm Insurance Association 800-788-8247
- National Flood Insurance Program 800-638-6620