Thousands of South Jersey residents are sifting through the aftermath after two weekends in a row of severe thunderstorms which led to emergency declarations in Atlantic, Cumberland and Salem counties along with water restrictions in Monmouth County.  Attorney General Jeff Chiesa is reminding those affected to beware of home repair and charity scams as they recover.

"Disasters and emergencies attract their share of con artists and frauds, from fly-by-night home improvement contractors, to fake charities that only seek to line their own pockets," said Chiesa.  "New Jersey consumers recovering from water and wind damage should look at every sales pitch and charity solicitation with a critical eye.  They have endured enough, without the added outrage of being scammed."

Chiesa warned that dishonest home improvement contractors have been known to prey on people seeking to repair their homes after emergencies.  They often offer low prices for speedy service, then leave mid-job with unfinished, poor work and a home that's unsafe.

Chiesa urges that you demand identifications before you let anyone who claims to be from a utility company inspect your home.  Never give your credit card number of financial information to strangers over the phone or internet.  Learn whether the contractor in question is properly registered with the Division of Consumer Affairs.  Call the Division at 800-242-5846 or use the free 'New Jersey Professional License Lookup' iPhone app.

Consumers who believe they've been cheated or scammed can file a complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs here or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.