JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Natural disaster zones often become a target for scammers and unlicensed workers who prey on vulnerable storm victims. Before handing over money or signing a contract, here's a quick checklist to research the contractor you plan to hire.

1. Put their company name here to see if they are licensed to do work in Florida;

2. Then enter it here to see if they are a valid company and for how long;

3. Check for any business complaints with State of Florida here;

4. Look at the company's rating with the Better Business Bureau here; and

5. Then do a Google search of the company name and the word 'complaints' to see if other reviews appear.

Finding complaints does not automatically mean a company is not legitimate and zero complaints won't guarantee excellent work. However, doing some research first can help you make better decisions as a consumer.

Prefer talking on the phone?

Contact the Northeast Florida BBB for rating information: (904) 721-2288

State Attorney Melissa Nelson's office consumer crimes hotline: (904) 255-3099

Attorney General Pam Bondi's price gouging hotline - (866) 9-NO-SCAM / (866) 966-7226