BBB Warns of Potential Scams and Shady Business as Flood Waters Rise

May 16, 2017


Vancouver, BC – B.C.’s seemingly constant rains, snowmelt and cool spring has seen many parts of the interior ravaged by flooding. The biggest concern right now is the areas around Okanagan Lake. Numerous homes have already seen damage from rising waters, and in worse cases, been swept away altogether. States of emergency have been declared in Kelowna and a fire chief is believed to have been lost in Cache Creek after being swept away.

“Times like these often see the community coming together to raise funds for those in need of emergency services or even repair,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “People certainly mean well by setting up crowdfunding sites when tragedy strikes, but so do scammers. We need to be careful should unregulated funding sites start popping up.”

Contractor scams are another concern.

“There is now a lot of work to be done for those affected by rising waters. Our main concern is shady workers rolling up to a home, offering services, accepting a deposit and then never being heard from again. Home repair scams are one of the riskiest and most susceptible out there,” adds Kelly.

When seeking flood restoration services, the BBB warns flood victims to practice caution when hiring a contractor:


Work with local businesses. Make sure the contractor has appropriate ID that tells you it’s a legitimate company. Are they licensed to do business in your area?
Check references. Ask for references from past clients. If they refuse, it’s a red flag.
Find out if the contractor is insured. Ask for copies of insurance certificates and make sure they’re current.
Prepare a written contract agreement with anyone you hire. It should include price, materials, and timeline on company letterhead.
Never pay in full for all repairs in advance, and do not pay cash. Paying cash to avoid taxes is unethical.
Don’t be pressured into making an immediate decision with a long-term impact. Although you may be anxious to get things back to normal, avoid letting your emotions get the better of you.
Check BBB Business Profile.


Things to consider when donating:

• Understand all terms and conditions of crowdfunding sites.
• These are easy to set up and have been used by scammers in the past.
• Research those behind the crowdfunding campaign.
• These are not charity organization that can issue tax receipts.
• Keep your emotions in check. Scammers strike when emotions run high.
• Question any spam email that may pertain to an affected region.
• Give to reputable organizations.
• Check with your local government to see if they are actively collecting money or supplies.


Media Contacts:

Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor
BBB Serving Mainland BC
404-788 Beatty Street
Vancouver, BC
V6B 2M1

About BBB:

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 365 million times for BBB Business Reviews, all available for free at BBB Serving Mainland B.C., founded in 1939 and serving the Lower Mainland, Thompson-Okanagan, Northern, Central and Southern Interior BC, and the Yukon, is one of 108 local, independent BBBs across North America. In 2016, consumers turned to BBB Serving Mainland B.C. more than 2 million times for Business Reviews and processed 6,000 complaints.