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Consumer Affairs Warns NJ Residents: Don't Get Swept Up in Flood Scams

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Jersey's Division of Consumer Affairs is sending teams to flood-damaged areas to warn residents about possible scams.

"We know that as soon as the flood waters begin to recede, the scammers start surfacing," said Acting Director Thomas Calcagni. "We're talking about dishonest, unregistered home improvement contractors, unlicensed individuals claiming they can do discount electrical work or plumbing work and mold remediation companies with little experience or qualification to perform the kind of services that they advertise."

Calcagni said the state is sending teams out to municipal buildings, police stations and emergency shelters in communities affected by flooding — including Paterson, Lodi and Little Falls. According to the National Weather Service, the Passaic River at Little Falls and Pine Brook remains under a flood warning.

"It's an ugly truth that every disaster attracts its share of con artists and frauds," Calcagni said.

He's urging residents to make sure anyone they hire is licensed and registered with the state. He's also warning residents to confirm that charities are legitimate before they donate, by checking the state's registry.

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