El Paso had a hellacious windstorm blow through town this week and that means lots of people with damage to their home's roofs. I'm one of those people. My roof got lifted and peeled back by the ferocious winds. I had an eight foot length of roof shingles peel back about six feet. I called my insurance company immediately, but when I got home from work, I had four "roofing contractors" ring my doorbell. When I told them I was already working with a contractor, one man told me that he could assure that I could get seven thousand dollars from my insurance company. I told him to hit the road.

Scammers can not only take your money and not do the work, but they might also try to lead you down the path to insurance fraud. That could land you in jail, or at the very least, cost you a lot of money in legal fees. Here are a couple of things to look out for so you don't get scammed:

1. Door-to-door salespeople - The guy in an unmarked truck who says he just needs your personal information and signature so he can go up on the roof to check for damage might steal your identity. Scammers have also been known to push people to sign paperwork that turned out to be a bill just for getting on the roof to check for damage. Tell the person you need to research their company with the Better Business Bureau or check them out online.

2. Take notes and pictures - Take photos of your roof and the surrounding areas. Take photos of the work vehicle and license plate.

3. Be careful with your money - Pay by check, never by cash. Ask if the contractor is bonded and licensed and check to make sure they are. Don't pay the whole amount up front.

4. Make sure the contract has everything spelled out - Benchmarks for work. Return the area as it was before the work was done. Contractor pulls the permits so they maintain liability for anything that goes wrong. If they want you to pull the permit, don't use that contractor.

The County Attorney's office is a good place to call before work begins. They can tell you if there is a case pending against the contractor.

The thing you should follow the most is your gut. If something seems too good to be true or not right, pull back and don't get rushed into anything.

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