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Safety officials in Johnson County warn homeowners of cleanup scams

"Don't get scammed into people showing up at your door”
Storm damage Johnson County Center Grove.png
Posted at 7:45 PM, Jun 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-30 17:45:59-04

JOHNSON COUNTY– The National Weather service confirmed three tornadoes touched down in Central Indiana Sunday — including one in Johnson county. Now, residents are left with damage and debris to cleanup.

Johnson County Commissioner Kevin Walls says a proper dump site for debris is still in the works.

Damage is also still being assessed by state and federal agencies.

In the meantime, local safety officials are warning Johnson County residents to be aware of who is cutting down their trees and fixing up their homes.

"I've seen it with storms that have knocked down trees but never to this extent, never to that extent,” said Allyson Keil.

Keil lives in Center Grove. Her home suffered extensive damage during Sunday's storm.

"We have a very large tree in the front of our home that half of it broke off and landed on the roof of our home,” Keil said. “One went through a bedroom window and demolished that room.”

As Keil and her family are picking up the pieces she says she is surprised by how many people came to her home to offer their services, some of which she wasn’t sure were legit.

"Several people have stopped by and said here is my card and all of that and we will just stick with who our insurance is,” Keil said.

She says close to twelve different people have dropped off their cards at her door step, and several others just stopped by.

Actions like that are something safety officials say you should be very cautious of.

"Don't get scammed into people showing up at your door,” Bargersville Deputy Fire Chief Mike Pruitt said. “They might say you know we will charge you a couple thousand dollars. We will fix your doors on your home, your windows and then the next thing you know they aren't fixed properly or at all, then they leave with your money. So don't got down that road. "

According to State Farm Insurance, so far they have received 755 home and auto claims in Indiana as a result of the storms. They predict they will have more once power is restored to all homes in the affected areas.

Homeowners like Keil are just trying to stay positive.

"Cleaning up what we can now and just push forward and you know be very thankful that we are alive," Keil said.

Whether communities in Johnson County will receive government assistance or not may take some time.

"The local state and federal officials will look at the total damage and what those numbers are and see what threshold those meet whether its individual assistance or if it's going to be assistance to the local government,” Pruitt said. “ They will determine whether there will be any federal assistance whether there will be any state or if the locals can handle what they have in front of them. "

Safety officials couldn’t provide a timeline on how long the damage assessment will take. As for some specific tips on how to recognize a scam, here are some things you can do:

  • Research anyone before you hire them,
  • Ask to see their ID and proof of insurance.
  • It's also a good idea to get more than one estimate if you need a job done.
  • Lastly, never pay everything up front, especially before the work is done.