[Above video is aerial footage of the damage left in Robinson, Ill. and Sullivan, Ind. by the March 31 tornado]

KNOX COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Indiana State Police is advising residents who were victims of the March 31 tornado to be on the lookout for possible scams.

“The Putnamville State Police Post and the National Insurance Crime Bureau want to ensure that the Sullivan County residents who were impacted by the tornado, receive legitimate information concerning contractors for cleanup and repair. “

ISP News Release

In addition to fraudulent disaster relief workers, the threat of looting and thefts in the affected area remains as well. Police ask anyone who observes individuals removing items from properties where they do not belong, to contact ISP and local law enforcement by calling 765-653-4114.

Saturated patrols will continue in the affected areas to fend off potential criminal activity.

The NICB offers the following tips for residents looking to avoid contractor fraud;

  • Get more than one estimate. Never let a contractor pressure you into hiring them.
  • Work only with licensed and insured contractors.
  • Demand references and check them.
  • Ask to see the salesperson’s driver’s license and write down the driver’s license number and their vehicle’s license plate number.
  • Get a contract in writing. This should include cost, time schedules, payment schedules, guarantees, work to be done, and other expectations that should be detailed.
  • Never sign a contract with blanks as these could be filled in later without your knowledge.
  • Never pay a contractor in full or sign a completion certificate until the work is done and ensure reconstruction is up to the current code.

The NICB also offers these links that may be useful to victims;

Fraud resources after a disaster

Disaster Fraud | National Insurance Crime Bureau