Protecting Yourself From Scams After Storm

Attorney General Jack Conway wants victims of Sunday’s devastating windstorm to know that the Emergency Declaration Governor Steve Beshear signed on Friday, September 12 to prevent price gouging in the Commonwealth also covers all emergency and building supplies which would include generators. He also cautions storm victims to be leery of fly-by-night contractors.

“Those who have fallen victim to this storm should not be victimized again by criminals who are preying on the widespread devastation,” General Conway said.

Conway said consumers needing work done quickly to repair storm-damaged homes and property are at risk of falling victim to unscrupulous fly-by-night contractors, also known as "storm chasers."

Common natural disaster scams include outright fraud, shoddy construction, price gouging, charity scams, impersonating officials, and loan scams.

Conway is urging consumers to call the Consumer Hotline at 1-888-432-9257 to report any incidents of possible fraud, price gouging or shoddy construction work and repair.

Attorney General Conway provides the following tips to consumers needing storm repair or clean up services:

*Never pay in advance for labor. Scam artists often take advance payments from consumers and never return to complete the work. If an advance is needed to purchase materials, offer to purchase the materials yourself

*Use local, reputable contractors for repairs, if possible. If local contractors bring in out-of-town workers, ask who will be responsible for their work if it is not satisfactory

*Ask if the contractor is licensed, bonded (if required by the city or county), and insured

*Check unknown companies out with the Better Business Bureau (Louisville/Western KY 1-800-388-2222; Lexington/Eastern KY 1-800-866-6668) or call the Consumer Protection Division 1-888-432-9257 to see if information is available about the company

*Demand a written contract. If possible, get estimates from several contractors;

*Be suspicious of unfamiliar, out-of-state vehicles and those who offer repair work at unreasonably low prices. Contact local law enforcement about your suspicions.

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