Protect Yourself Against Scam Artists

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Release date: 
May 30, 2008
Release Number: 
1753-014

CLINTON, Miss. -- With damaged homes, many flood victims in Bolivar, Warren, Washington and Wilkinson counties are urgently seeking contractors to make repairs or rebuild.

But the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency caution residents to watch for potential scams during the recovery process.

Here are some tips recommended by the Mississippi Attorney General's Office to guard against con artists or unscrupulous workers:

  • Check with city or county building officials regarding permits necessary to rebuild.

  • Ask to see state or local permits and licenses. Contact the Mississippi State Board of Contractors to verify if the contractor is licensed (800-880-6161 or www.msboc.us).

  • Ask for references and actually talk to those customers.

  • Get at least two estimates.

  • Always get your contract in writing.

  • Buy materials yourself, if possible. It can also help save costs.

  • If the contractor is buying materials, be sure to get proof of payment before you reimburse the contractor for them.

  • Get proof of payment for labor costs before you reimburse the contractor.

  • Get receipts for all repair payments, including those paid in cash.

  • If you are writing a check, make it out to the name of the company rather than a worker.

If you are suspicious, do not hire the worker, sign a contract or provide money.? Get as much information as possible and report your concerns to your local law enforcement agency or the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at 601-359-4230.

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
State/Tribal Government or Region: 
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