Homeowner warns of contractor scams after Harvey

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Virtually everything Andrea Flaven owns is on her curb.

"The water started coming in under the doors and through the walls," she told Eyewitness News. "We're having an appraiser come in on Friday to tell us how much our insurance will pay us. "

While the flies begin to swarm around the rot and the mold and mildew, she says there are also parasites lurking amongst the piles of debris. Would-be-contractors making all sorts of unsolicited promises.

"They never told me what they were going to do. They were really focused on how much money they could save us, how well they were known," she said. One was particularly a bother to her. "He was really slick. And I thought, you know I'm short but I'm not stupid. "

She called the Better Business Bureau in Houston, the first person post-Harvey to report a contractor. Leah Napoliello, an investigator with the BBB, said Flaven did the right thing.

"Anyone that approaches and you don't know who they are. They're basically a stranger to you," she said. "You shouldn't hire them on the spot or sign anything that they give you or give any money up front at all. "

On Wednesday morning, the Harris County Attorney's Office sent out a warning, reminded flood survivors to be vigilant.

"People need to be very cautious," said Francisca Aguirre with the HCAO.

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She cautioned homeowners not to pay the whole bill up front and to not sign anything before talking to an insurance company. And she suggested doing research.

"They (should) talk to at least three contractors to get different bids to see who would give them the best quote," advised Aguirre.

Andrea Flaven won't be fooled, but she worries about so many of her neighbors.

"In my age group there are a lot of people who would fall for that," said Flaven, "They look like angels in disguise in pickups and I'm not real thrilled with that."

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