Contractor fraud reported after tornado outbreak

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TAYLORVILLE, Ill. (WAND) – Homeowners are asked to look out for home repair fraud schemes after a tornado devastated the Taylorville area.

After an EF-3 tornado dealt major property damage to the area on Dec. 1, police heard reports of contractors telling homeowners about work without them approving the service. The Christian County Emergency Management Agency says contractors who appear to be fraudulent should be reported to police.

Police are looking for names, phone numbers and license plate numbers of fraud suspects. The phone numbers used typically appear to be from local areas.

“Be sure that the contractor is licensed and bonded before allowing them to do work and do not give any contractor cash before work is performed,” an EMA release says. “Residents should also read each contract carefully before signing it.”

The EMA says volunteers are still needed to help with cleanup. The Volunteer Reception Center (VRC) is open at the Taylorville Township Building (1620 W. Spresser St.) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Dec. 9. It opened at 7:30 am. Saturday for people to be assigned to volunteer work.

Volunteers need to be over 18 years old and have a photo ID with them. They’re asked to come dressed for the weather and bring protective equipment, such as work boots, gloves and eye protection.

A Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) in Taylorville, which provides disaster relief services to people affected by the storm, closed at 1 p.m. Saturday. It was located at Taylorville Christian Church (1124 N. Webster St.).

Warming and relief centers are open in two Taylorville locations, with one at the corner of Houston and Coal streets and the other behind the Taylorville IGA store at 500 West Market St.

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