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Roofer Red Flag: Investigators Worry About Scammers After Storm

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WYLIE (CBS11) - Hail pounded North Texas one week ago in Wylie, Plano and other parts of North Texas.

Only CBS11 was with state insurance investigators as they met with area police departments and homeowners.

Investigators are now worried about the second storm--the wave of scammers that hit neighborhoods after a disaster looking to cash in.

Grapefruit-Sized Hail

"It just started coming, it was massive," said Jen Sewell.

Sewell was home with her children when she said grapefruit-sized hail hit her Wylie home.

Hail broke her windows, ripped up her siding and tore through her roof.

"We had water pouring in, that was when I lost my mind," said Sewell.

When the sound of hail stopped, a few other distinct sounds started.

"Constant door knocking," said Sewell.

Then came the flood of trucks and roofers according to Sewell and her neighbors.

"We started having massive amounts of trucks coming through here, people handing us cards for roofing, pure pandemonium," said Sewell.

Sewell said roofers were scrambling to get her business.

"Bad mouthing each other was the number one thing," said Sewell. "The next thing, don't worry about your deductible we've got you covered. Don't worry about that," said Sewell.

TDI In North Texas

Texas Department of Insurance fraud investigators have been in Wylie since the hail storm rolled through.

Only CBS11's Consumer Justice was there as they met with law enforcement, drove through neighborhoods and talked to homeowners.

TDI investigators spent Friday with the Plano Police Department.

"We're here as an assistance, as a resource to help protect your citizens from becoming victims after natural disasters," said TDI Sgt. Steve Richardson.

They explained what TDI does and how local law enforcement agencies can utilize the state's fraud investigators.

Plano Police Public Information Officer David Tilley explained the city's ordinance requiring solicitors to get a permit.

"Clearly, with all the recent storms, back to back for the most part, we've got a lot of people coming into our city, soliciting," said Tilley.

Red Flag

TDI investigator Kyle Pisula said they are getting several reports in North Texas of roofers offering to waive a homeowners deductible.

"That money has to come from somewhere. He gets up there, I'm only going to patch part of it, no one will notice and I'll save $2,000 and recoup that cost," said Pisula.

Pisula said the "no deductible deal" could lead a roofer to commit insurance fraud by over-billing the insurance company.

"In the strictest sense, yes, the homeowner at that point could be an accomplice to the insurance fraud," said Pisula.

Pisula said TDI would most likely not go after an unknowing homeowner but they need to know a roofer could put them in that position.

"It's important they know who is on their roof," said Pisula.

For more information on the Texas Department of Insurance, click here.

For tips on how to have your roof repaired after a storm, click here.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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