With the strong winds and storms that sweep over Montana this time of year, they are often followed by unscrupulous contractors and roofers.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox and the Office of Consumer Protection remind property owners to be careful when hiring contractors to provide repairs to homes and businesses.

Spokesman John Barnes said to beware of ‘storm chasers.’

“You want to be wary of contractors who use high pressure sales tactics,” said Barnes. “They offer bids that are suspiciously low, as the old saying goes ‘if it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t true’. Another popular tactic is that a contractor will say they just finished a job nearby and I have these leftover materials and I can give you a great deal. We get so many calls from people who get ripped off with scams like these.”

Barnes provides some tips to keep from being scammed.

“Consider using only reputable local contractors,” he said. “Get at least three written bids, check references and make completely sure that the contractor is licensed, bonded and insured, get a written contract and never pay 100 percent of the costs upfront.”

Barnes said to get information about the contractor by clicking this link.

If anyone feels they have been defrauded, that can contact the Montana Office of Consumer Protection at 1-800-481-6896.