If your home was recently destroyed by a hurricane, fire or other disaster, be careful. You should be avoiding scams that may target you after a disaster.

Sadly, there are fraudulent service providers that target on disaster victims. They are smart and know that people who have lost their homes and valuable belongings may not be thinking clearly. If you have experienced this hardship type of loss, don’t make any reckless decisions. You should talk to your insurance agent who may suggest service providers near your area.

Here are some ground guidelines for acquiring service providers:

Roofs and Builders

1. Don’t rush yourself into signing a contract with just any company. Alternatively, collect business cards and get written estimates for the proposed job.

2. Be cautious of building contractors that encourage you to spend a lot of money on temporary repairs. Payments for those temporary repairs are covered as part of the total agreement. The thing is, if you pay your contractor a large sum for a temporary repair job, you may not have adequate amount of money for permanent repairs. Normally, you should be able to make the temporary repairs yourself. Consult with your insurance agent and remember to keep the receipts.

3. Scrutinize the track record of any roofer, builder or contractor that you consider hiring. Seek for professionals who have a well-built reputation in your community. Get references and never give anyone a deposit until after you have thoroughly researched their background.

A typical fraud scheme is for a so-called “contractor” to convince a homeowner that a large deposit must be provided before repair work can begin. Often, the job will be started, but not completed. Regrettably, these con artists are never seen or heard from again.

Public Adjusters and Attorneys

1. Don’t make any irrational decisions about hiring someone to handle your claim. Be primarily cautious of individuals who go door-to-door seeking business in the fallout of a calamity. Most importantly, don’t let anyone scare you into signing a contract. The last thing you would want is to be exploited by someone who comes into town, hoping to make a fast buck. You could end up being deprived of a significant portion of your insurance dollars.

2. Prior to hiring a public adjuster or an attorney, try to settle your claim directly with your insurance company. Your insurer provides an adjuster at no charge to you. Question your insurance agent or company representative to help you with your claim and don’t hesitate to ask questions.

3. If your claim is complex and you want to hire a public adjuster or attorney, make sure that person is a professional to handle your case. Consult your relatives and friends or business associates for the names of highly regarded professionals in your community.

4. Be mindful that you will have to pay a public adjuster 15 percent and an attorney as much as 33 percent of your total claim settlement.