NewsLocal NewsLee County


'The roof is trashed': Homeowners search for tarps while avoiding scammers

Blue tarp
Posted at 6:47 PM, Oct 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-10 18:47:11-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — The strength of Category 4 Hurricane Ian is forcing many people to get a new roof or fix it. This gives scammers the opportunity to target people and take advantage of the situation.

"They want you to sign your life away," said Bill Crane, whose roof likely needs to be replaced. "The roof is trashed."

He started looking around and came across one company.

"They're like $50,000 for a roof," Crane said. "They want you to sign your life away."

It's signs like this you should look out for.

"Certainly if people are being super hyper and pushy at the door, wanting you to sign an assignment of benefits, steer clear. Assignment of benefits is illegal," said Tristan Starbird with Trademark Roofing.

While Crane researched his options, he applied to get a free tarp from Operation Blue Roof, a program through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Crane signed up two days after the hurricane.

"For over a week it says waiting on an adjuster to look at it and that’s been about it," he explained. "I have not heard anything."

Because of the damage to his roof, Crane spent a lot of time trying to find a tarp to put over the worst part because of the storms in the forecast this week.

"Had some drywall wet inside the bedroom and inside the living room," Crane said following Monday night's storm.

While people like Crane wait for a tarp, Starbird says there are ways to protect yourself from a ripoff by simply asking questions.

"Where are you from, show me your license number and what’s your process in all of this?," he explained.

He also said to not take signs on the side of the road at face value.

"Many of them are not legitimate," Starbird said.

He says the best thing to do is go with a local, licensed roofing contractor, especially if you want it done quickly.

"I’m not dealing with anybody out of state. Really anybody that’s out of county I don’t want to deal with," Crane said. "I want somebody I can deal with if there's a problem with my roof."

We reached out to the Army Corps of Engineers regarding wait times and the amount of tarps given out to homeowners. As of Monday evening we have not heard back.