Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is warning against criminals streaming into communities targeting homes and businesses damaged by the Thanksgiving ice storm.
Scammers move quickly into communities and neighborhoods to offer services such as debris clean-up and removal, home repair, and tree trimming in the wake of storms such as last week’s ice storms, according to the Attorney General's office.
"Following any storm, whether it is a tornado or an ice storm, Oklahomans should be wary of travelers. These are criminals who travel from one community to the next in an attempt to take advantage of folks, who in this instance have a lot of cleaning up to do,”said Attorney General Pruitt. “As we enter the winter season, it is especially important for us all to use caution and patience while going through the cleanup process to find reputable contractors. Whether it is tree removal or trimming, or even home repair, if anyone feels as if they are being scammed, contact my office immediately and we will take the necessary action.”
Attorney General Pruitt cautioned Oklahomans to be wary of repair services and contractors who:
Attorney General Pruitt suggests the following tips for choosing a proper contractor or repair service:
Attorney General Pruitt also said Oklahoma’s Emergency Price Stabilization Act is now in effect for all 77 Oklahoma counties after Gov. Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency on Sunday due to the winter storm and flooding.
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 Consumer Protection Unit at (405)-521-2029 or (918)-581-2885.