Attorney General Jim Hood Reminds Mississippians to be Aware of Scams as Spring Storm Season Approaches
With spring storm season just around the corner, Attorney General Jim Hood wants to remind Mississippians who suffer property damage as a result of severe storms or flooding to be on alert for scam artists. Additionally, the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office is sending a message to crooked contractors and other scam artists that disaster-related fraud won’t be tolerated.
According to MEMA, the greatest threat for severe storms in Mississippi is in March, April and May. Gov. Phil Bryant has proclaimed this week as Spring Severe Weather Preparedness Week to bring attention to the potential for severe weather events and to encourage people and communities to know their risks and take action.
“Mississippi has recently been hit hard by storms, everything from tornadoes to hail storms and flash flooding. We know that spring often brings additional storms. In these situations, Mississippians are vulnerable to fraud,” said Attorney General Jim Hood. “I want to ensure that Mississippi storm victims are not victimized by unscrupulous contractors or other scam artists who prey on misfortune.”
In order to avoid falling victim to scams or unscrupulous contractors in the aftermath of severe storms or flooding, Attorney General Hood offers these tips to protect you and your loved ones against home repair fraud:
- Always get more than one estimate. Ensure that all quotes are in writing for the full scope of the work.
- Have a written home repair contract in place before allowing work to begin. A contractor who won’t put pricing or warranty information in writing may be planning to defraud you.
- Request references and follow up with these references. Don’t assume that just because a reference is provided that it is a positive one.
- Use Mississippi contractors if you can. Verify that the contractor is licensed and insured.
- Be wary of supposed contractors who come to your home soliciting business. Most reputable contractors will be busy and won’t need to solicit business.
Attorney General Hood recommends that you take time in advance of a storm to download a copy of the “model contract,” which will help you avoid becoming a victim of home repair fraud. More information can be found in “Consumer Tips for Storm Victims.” Both of these resources can be found at www.agjimhood.com.
Attorney General Hood also encourages Mississippians to develop and practice their own emergency plans. Having necessary supplies on hand, a communications plan with your loved ones in place, and insurance and financial account information ready will assist consumers during and after a storm.
In the aftermath of any storm or any other time, if you suspect home repair fraud or think you may have been conned by a scam artist, please contact the Office of the Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division at (601) 359-4230 or (800) 281-4418.