News Releases

Avoid scams in the wake of storm damage

TOPEKA – (March 1, 2012) – Attorney General Derek Schmidt today warned Kansans to be aware of scam artists who frequent storm-damaged areas looking to take advantage of those in need.

“Kansans are resilient people,” Schmidt said. “Time and again, we see neighbors pitching in to help during times of disaster. Unfortunately, we also know scam artists will try to exploit disaster victims for financial gain.”

In the aftermath of a storm, scam artists will often pose as contractors, approaching owners of storm-damaged homes and offering to do repairs. They will sometimes ask for cash in advance to purchase supplies and then never return to do the work. To avoid becoming a victim of this type of scam, the Attorney General’s Office recommends the following:

  • Ask for recommendations and references from contractors.
  • Get at least three written estimates from different contractors.
  • Make sure the contractor meets all licensing and permitting requirements, and is properly insured.
  • Get all contracts in writing and don’t make a final payment until you are satisfied all work has been properly completed.
  • If possible, do business with trusted contractors with whom you had a relationship prior to the disaster.

Consumers should be especially cautious of contractors who come door-to-door, offer discounted “leftover” materials, drive unmarked vehicles or have temporary magnetic signs or quote a price that is out of line with other estimates.

Kansans should also use caution when donating to charities purporting to raise money for storm victims. Only donate to known, reputable charities. You can verify the status of a charity by visiting www.KsCharityCheck.org or by calling (785) 296-4564.

Consumers can report scams or file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office by calling toll-free 1-800-432-2310 or visiting www.ag.ks.gov