Attorney General Warns Oklahomans About Scams Following Storms - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

Attorney General Warns Oklahomans About Scams Following Storms

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Damage at a metro apartment complex Tuesday night. Damage at a metro apartment complex Tuesday night.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

The Oklahoma Attorney General's office has issued a warning for residents who live in storm damaged areas following Tuesday's storms. Attorney General Scott Pruitt said home repair schemes and charity fraud typically follow in the wake of weather damage.

5/29/2012 Related Story: Hail-Packing Storm Causes Injuries, Damage In OKC Metro

"We know from past experience that this type of damage attracts criminals looking for ways to take advantage of Oklahomans," Pruitt said. "We're getting the message out now so people can be aware of such quick-fix schemes and spread the word to neighbors and family members before they become victims."

Home repair and charity fraud are the most likely scams Oklahomans will encounter after storms, according to the AG's office.

5/30/2012 Related Story: More Storms Roar Through Central Oklahoma Wednesday

"Within the next few days, home and business owners will want to repair storm damage quickly, but we caution them to be patient and make sure they are using a reputable home repair contractor," Pruitt said. "Investigators with our Public Protection Unit have prosecuted unscrupulous repair workers, commonly called travelers, who follow storms across the country to profit from the misfortune of others."

Tips for choosing a proper contractor or repair service:

  • Ask people you trust for referrals;
  • Whenever possible, deal with local firms;
  • Check out the repair service with the Attorney General's Public Protection Unit and the Better Business Bureau;
  • Ask for customer references;
  • Get written estimates from several firms;
  • Don't do business without a written contract;
  • Get all guarantees, warranties and promises in writing;
  • Agree on start and completion dates and have them written into the contract

Oklahomans need to be wary of repair services and contractors who:

  • Solicit door-to-door;
  • Offer discounts for finding other customers;
  • "Just happen to have" materials left over from a previous job;
  • Accept only cash payments;
  • Pressure you for an immediate decision;
  • Ask you to pay for the entire job up-front

"Donating to an organization that is well-known and respected in the community is the best way to combat this type of fraud," Pruitt said.

Get more tips and resources at Attorney General's website, or call the Public Protection Unit at (405) 521-2029.

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