Bryan Cohen Apr. 22, 2013, 5:54pm

CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued a consumer alert on Friday urging Chicago area residents to be aware of home repair con artists following severe storms and flooding last week.

Home repair scammers are known to move into affected areas to take advantage of people rushing to secure their property and make repairs to storm-related damage. Such storm chasers attempt to catch people off guard by pressuring them into making quick and costly decisions.

"In the wake of the heavy rains and severe flooding that hit Chicago this week, many area residents and business owners have suffered significant property damage," Madigan said. "I encourage people to use caution as they start the daunting cleanup process and to be on the lookout for potential scammers moving into the area to try to take advantage of the situation."

The Illinois Home Repair and Remodeling Act requires that contractors give consumers written contracts for any remodeling or repair work that costs more than $1,000. Contracts must be signed by both the contractor and the consumer.

The law also requires that contracts have at least minimum amounts of insurance for property damage, improper home repair and bodily injury. Contracts are required to provide consumers with an informational pamphlet called Home Repair: Know Your Consumer Rights.

Illinois residents can use Madigan's Consumer Fraud Hotline to learn if any complaints were filed against a particular contractor or business.

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