Pasco economic crimes detectives have a warning for home and business owners who have sustained storm damage.
"Our concern is that there are going to be people out there taking advantage of the situation," explained Sergeant Charles Troy.
He warns the Bay Area is now a rich target for scam artists offering repair and restoration work. If they're not here yet, many unlicensed contractors are likely on their way.
"They know what's going on. They know there is a storm, they know people are getting back into their homes. They're going to be out there," Sgt. Troy added.
Pasco County Emergency Management is still trying to asses the actual number of homes damaged by the storm. But no matter how many there are, the people who live in them are often eager to get as much done as soon as possible.
And so are business owners.
David Yepes runs a vehicle wrap shop. Four feet of water surrounded his shop, much of it leaked in.
"There is no talking about it. Let's just do it and make it happen so we can immediately start bringing those dollars in the door," Yepes said.
Investigators say contractors should be asked to show their state license, offer written estimates on company letterhead and never demand cash up front.
Jon Hall has a crew of five working to repair water damage in a small house in Pegasus Avenue. He has an armada of trucks ready to haul the debris away with dozens of specialized tools.
"We're licensed state contractors. We're also mold-certified for the state," he says.
All too often, unlicensed contractors are from out of town or out of state.
"I live right here," Hall explained. "I live in Pasco County, so this is my home and we care about it. So when this is all said and done, I'm still going to be here," he said.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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