ATLANTA, Ga. — The Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are offering advice to Georgians affected by the late March and early April storms and flooding on how to avoid unscrupulous contractors and people posing as contractors. “People who have suffered damage from the storms and flooding should be very careful when contracting for repairs,” said GEMA Director Charley English. “Don’t let a fasttalker part you from your money by pressure or poor workmanship.” Disaster officials caution homeowners first to receive written estimates from contractors before signing contracts or making down payments. Avoid offers that seem too good to refuse. Check references before deciding which contractor to choose. Homeowners should check with their county or city licensing authorities to see if the contractor is licensed in their jurisdiction, as well as checking for complaints with their regional Georgia Better Business Bureau. You can find the Better Business Bureau for your location at www.bbb.org. “An alarm should go off if you are approached by door-to-door solicitors who ask for large cash deposits or entire payments in advance,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Terry Quarles. “Sometimes the work is never performed and the down payment is never returned.” If you feel you have been a victim of contractor fraud, contact the Georgia Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs in Atlanta Metro at 404-656-3790 or toll-free in non-metro Georgia at 800-869-1123. You may also contact your local police or sheriff’s department. FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.