AG Warns Against Scammers In Wake of Moore, Sand Springs Tornado - - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

AG Warns Against Scammers In Wake of Moore, Sand Springs Tornadoes

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[File Photo] [File Photo]

Attorney General Scott Pruitt said Oklahomans cleaning up after Wednesday's storms should be wary of criminals who stream into communities to target tornado-damaged homes and businesses with scams involving cleanup, removal, home repair, and tree trimming.

“After friends and families are counted safe, home and business owners immediately turn their attention to quickly repairing their property, but we urge them to be cautious and patient and only use reputable contractors,” Attorney General Pruitt said. “Oklahomans should be particularly wary of criminals known as ‘travelers' who go from one community to the next to take advantage of home and business owners cleaning up after a storm. If anyone feels they have been scammed, they should contact my office immediately so we can take appropriate action.”

3/26/2015 Related Story: Gov. Fallin Declares State Of Emergency For 25 OK Counties

Attorney General Pruitt cautioned Oklahomans to be wary of repair services and contractors who:

  • Solicit for work 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.

Attorney General Pruitt suggests the following tips for choosing a proper contractor or repair service:

  • Ask for referrals from people you trust; 
  • Try to do business with local companies; 
  • Request to see proof of certification and insurance; 
  • Check out the repair service with the AG's Public Protection Unit, the Oklahoma Construction Industries Board, and the Better Business Bureau;
  • Ask for customer references; 
  • Get written estimates from several companies; 
  • 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 in the contract. 

Pruitt also said Oklahoma's Emergency Price Stabilization Act is now in effect for 25 Oklahoma counties after Gov. Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency due to tornadoes, severe storms, straight-line winds and flooding Wednesday.

Oklahoma's price gouging statute prohibits an increase of more than 10 percent in the price of most goods and services during a state of emergency and for 30 days thereafter, the attorney general said. The act additionally is in effect for another 180 days for prices to repairs, remodeling and construction.

Oklahomans who suspect fraud related to storm-damage cleanup or repairs, or who experience price gouging, should contact the Attorney General's Public Protection Unit at (405)-521-2029 or (918)-581-2885.

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