Chillicothe, OH - If you were affected by the severe winter storms beginning February 14, be aware that some unscrupulous contractors may try to take advantage of you.
"If you have disaster-related damages, I urge you to be very careful when contracting for repairs," said Federal Coordinating Officer Ron Sherman of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
"Be especially alert for door-to-door solicitors who ask for large cash deposits or entire payments in advance," said State Coordinating Officer Dale Shipley of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. "Often the work is never performed or the down payment is never returned."
Shipley also cautions residents not to sign contracts or make down payments without first receiving written estimates from contractors and to avoid offers which seem too good to refuse. He also advises people to ask for references and to check with relatives or friends before deciding which contractor to choose.
Shipley suggests that disaster victims call the Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro's Consumer Protection hotline at 1-800-282-0515 if they have concerns about people who are representing themselves as contractors.
Those affected by the severe winter storm beginning February 14 who live in the declared counties of Adams, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, or Scioto may apply for disaster assistance by telephone. The toll-free number - 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) - is operational 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice. Those with speech or hearing impairment may call TTY 1-800-462-7585.