Newton, NC – Catawba County Emergency Services is advising residents to be aware of the following important information as flood recovery progresses in the County.

Industrial Waste
Among the debris that can get washed away during flooding are 55-gallon metal or plastic industrial drums. These drums can contain hazardous materials. If an industrial drum has been washed up onto your property, do not touch it or move it. Call Emergency Services at (828) 466-7213 and request an evaluation of the drum to determine if it needs to be removed by a team equipped to handle hazardous materials.

Beware of Potential Home Repair Scams
Damage from natural disasters often attracts scams related to repair work, such as roof work, tree work, flood remediation and general home repair. Many scammers will go door-to-door to offer their services on the spot.

If you are in need of repairs to your property, consider these scam prevention tips from the North Carolina Attorney General’s office:

• If you need repairs done, ask your friends, neighbors or co-workers who have had repairs done recently for recommendations.

• Check out a company before you decide to work with them. Check credentials and contact the Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau to learn about any complaints against the company. You can also ask the company for references.

• Get written estimates and compare bids. Instead of deciding to do business with someone who knocks on your door, get at least three estimates in writing if possible. Before work begins make sure you get a written contract that lists all the work to be performed, its costs and a completion date.

• Beware of up-sells. Some companies will come to your house to perform a service or repair at a low advertised rate but when they arrive they point out various expensive and alarming problems that supposedly need attention right away. By the time they leave, you may have paid hundreds or thousands of dollars for unneeded services.

• Ask about guarantees. Most companies will guarantee their work or the product for a certain period of time. Make sure to get this information in writing.

• Do not pay for work up front. Inspect the work and make sure you’re satisfied before you pay. A reasonable down payment may be required, but don’t pay anything without getting a written contract. Avoid paying with cash; use a check or a credit card instead.

• Remember your right to cancel. Transactions that take place at a location that is not the seller’s normal place of business, including your home, are eligible under state law to be cancelled up to three days after you sign the contract. The seller should include instructions on how to cancel in the written contract. You must notify them in writing if you change your mind within that three day period.

• If you have a complaint about a home repair company or want to report a home repair scam, call toll free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.