TORNADO SCAM PREVENTION
AG’s Public Protection Unit Issues Updated Disaster Scam Prevention Packet for Residents
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Attorney General’s Public Protection Unit Thursday issued an updated scam prevention packet for Oklahomans affected by this month’s severe storms to help them avoid some of the scams and fraud that have plagued residents following previous disasters.
The packet, which has been distributed nationally for use in other states, outlines prevention tips, resources and the law regarding price gouging.
AG investigators are providing the updated packets today to residents in Moore, Shawnee, Little Axe, Newcastle and other areas affected by recent storms as well as distributing copies to emergency management officials and local law enforcement.
The updates follow reports Wednesday of criminals known as ‘travelers’ being in the Moore area. Travelers are scam artists who travel from state to state and storm to storm trying to take advantage of residents when they are at their most vulnerable.
Travelers typically drive expensive trucks with flashy rims, pull a trailer and use magnetic signs on the truck doors that can be changed quickly to avoid detection. The trucks nearly always have out-of-state license plates.
Attorney General Scott 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.
The Attorney General’s Office 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 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.
Anyone who experiences price gouging or suspects fraud, should call the AG’s Office immediately at (405) 521-2029.
Oklahoma Disaster Scam Prevention Packet.pdf