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NOPD Reminds Citizens to Be Aware of Contractor Fraud During Hurricane Ida Recovery

by NOPD Public Affairs

September 7, 2021

Categories: Announcement, Be on the Lookout

Topics: Announcement

NOPD Reminds Citizens to Be Aware of Contractor Fraud During Hurricane Ida Recovery

As the area continues to recover from Hurricane Ida’s impacts, the NOPD’s Investigations Bureau would like to remind all citizens of the City of New Orleans to be aware of predatory individuals or companies who use natural disasters to steal funds from victims of storms.

With any natural disaster, recovery follows as does fraud perpetrated by persons or entities whose main objective are to steal insurance proceeds and personal funds by performing little to no work or by fraudulent practices. This can be done in many ways including, but not limited to deception, perversion of the truth, false contracts or companies, failure to provide services and misappropriation of funds.

Residential contractor fraud, according to the Louisiana Legislature, is defined under LA RS:14-202.1 as “the misappropriation or intentional taking of anything of value which belongs to another, either without the consent of the other to the misappropriation or taking, or by means of fraudulent conduct, practices, or representations by a person who has contracted to perform any home improvement or residential construction, or who has subcontracted for the performance of any home improvement or residential construction.”

The maximum sentence for anyone convicted of defrauding a citizen through contractor fraud of $25,000 or more can be 20 years in prison with hard labor and possibly a $50,000 fine with restitution.

Anyone who feels that they have been the victim of contractor fraud is asked to report the incident to authorities. In addition to local law enforcement, the Louisiana State Licensing Board of Contractors (LSLBC) is the main authority which works to protect consumers from both fraud and substandard work. Unlicensed contractors pose a risk to consumers and take work from qualified licensed contractors. Elderly citizens are especially vulnerable to contractor fraud. Unlicensed activity is against the law, and the LSLBC and other partner agencies consider it a serious offense, especially in the state of an emergency.

Some of the best ways to avoid falling victim to contractor fraud is to:

  • Treat the process like a job interview and like you are the hiring authority.
  • Verify whether a contractor is licensed or registered to do construction in Louisiana before you make a down payment or sign a contract. There are three ways to check licensure through LSLBC:
    • Download the free “La Contractor” mobile app by visiting the LSLBC website at
    • Use the contractor search function located on the LSLBC website.
    • Call LSLBC at 1-800-256-1392. Complaints of unlicensed activity should be reported to the LSLBC Compliance Section by emailing or calling 1-800-256-1392.
  • Be sure you learn the contractor’s full name, business address and take note of their physical description.
  • Ask them for references from previous clients, check their reviews via internet and social media.
  • Get the phone number and call it in their presence to ensure they are the phone account holder.
  • Ask them for proof of liability and workers compensation insurance.
  • Ask to see their contractor’s license.
  • Take note of the vehicle they are driving, record the license plate number.
  • Be sure you are supplied a detailed estimate and contract, signed by the contractor in your presence, be sure the contract has estimated dates of start and completion.
  • NEVER give a down payment exceeding 10 percent of the total project cost.
  • NEVER pay for projects not yet completed.
  • Ask that each task be itemized with a cost and a total sum.
  • Check their license via the LSLBC website at
  • Check their business name via the Louisiana Secretary of State website,
  • Always get at least three estimates for the repairs, as this may be required by your insurance provider.
  • Use local contractors when possible.
  • Keep a detailed log of all conversations you have. Use email communication as much as possible.
  • NEVER pay with cash or money order. Always use checks or a credit card.
  • NEVER give them more information than is needed for them to submit an estimate or perform the job.
  • Be sure all necessary permits are filed by them and the permits are present and posted on the property prior to start of the project.


Consumer Tips for Natural Disasters

Report fraud

Louisiana contractor fraud law

Tips from the State of Louisiana to avoid fraud

Check for Louisiana business licenses

Check for business reviews

New Orleans Office of Safety and Permits - search for permits