Tips on How Those Impacted by Severe Weather Can Avoid Being Re-victimized
McAlester/Pittsburg County Emergency Management and the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management are urging residents and business owners to be aware of possible scam artists who often target victims after an emergency or disaster.
- Be cautious of anyone coming to your home or business uninvited and offering to do repairs.
- If a volunteer offers to do work on your property, ask if there will be a cost for the work before the work starts. Reputable organizations will never ask for payment for volunteer services.
- Be cautious in dealing with a contractor who asks for a large down payment.
- Don't be pressured into making a quick decision. Try to get three separate bids on the job.
- Ask for references and check them out.
- Insist on obtaining a written estimate or contract.
- Do not pay the final balance until the work is completed to your satisfaction.
- Ask contractors if they have done this type of repair work before, if they will be purchasing necessary permits, and if the work will be inspected. Be sure the contract spells out who will pay for any necessary permits.
- Always pay for repair work by check or credit card in order to keep a record and avoid double charges.
- Be wary of contractors who claim to be state or FEMA certified when, in fact, neither the state nor FEMA certifies or endorses contractors.
Help is available:
If you suspect fraud, contact the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit at (405) 521-2029 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download the Attorney General’s Disaster Scam Prevention Packet at https://bit.ly/2GUNYU0.
Contact the Oklahoma Insurance Department’s (OID) Anti-Fraud Unit by at (800) 522-0071 or email@example.com or fill out a form online at https://www.ok.gov/oid/Anti-Fraud_Unit/antifraudconsumers.html.