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Wildfire victims: Don't let construction scams dash rebuilding plans

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October 1, 2015

Learn how to protect yourself at

Tumwater – In the aftermath of disasters, victims too often face a second catastrophe as dishonest contractors descend upon them like locusts.

After Hurricane Katrina decimated the Gulf Coast, the news was rife with stories of homeowners hiring shady contractors who performed shoddy or incomplete work on damaged homes — or sometimes no work at all.

To avoid such tragedies, Washington state urges residents displaced by recent wildfires to make sure to hire registered contractors when replacing or repairing their homes.

An array of resources and tips to avoid scams, report fraud, and hire contractors is available at The website is sponsored by the Washington state departments of Revenue, Employment Security, and Labor & Industries (L&I).

Additional information for Washington residents affected by the wildfires is at

Consumers should always check whether contractors are registered with L&I, even if the contractor is recommended by their insurance company.

Unregistered contractors often have no bond or liability insurance, don't get building permits, and fail to provide workers' compensation insurance for their employees — a scenario that could leave consumers in the lurch if something goes wrong.

Homeowners should always get at least three written bids for any job and should never pay in full until the work is done to their satisfaction.

Remember, check with the state before it's too late.


For media information: 
Debby Abe, L&I Public Affairs,, (360) 902-6043. 
Kim Schmanke, Revenue,, 360-534-1602.
Janelle Guthrie, Employment Security,, 360-902-9289. 

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