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Avoiding Fraud

What are "Travelers?"

Submitted by Doug Doe on Mon, 06/06/2016 - 5:22pm

The Oklahoma Office of the Attorney General has received reports of criminals called "Travelers" in tornado affected areas. With several tornado damaged areas opening up this weekend, AG investigators are very concerned that these fake contractors will begin targeting affected areas.

How Do I Choose a Proper Contractor?

Submitted by Doug Doe on Mon, 06/06/2016 - 5:20pm
  • Ask for referrals from people you trust
  • Try to do business with local companies
  • Request to see proof of certification and insurance
  • Check out the repair service with the AG's Public Protection Unit and the Better Business Bureau
  • Ask for customer references
  • Get written estimates from several companies
  • Don't do business without a written contract
  • Get all guarantees, warranties and promises in writing
  • Agree on start and completion dates, and have them in the contract

How Can I Protect Myself from Home Repair Fraud?

Submitted by Doug Doe on Mon, 06/06/2016 - 5:19pm
  • Fraudsters often take advantage of the chaos following a disaster. When choosing a contractor to make repairs, check licensing and references before hiring. Always insist on a written estimate before repairs begin and do not sign any contracts before the adjuster has examined the damage. In some cases the adjuster will want to see the estimate before you begin making repairs.

How Can I Best Avoid Charity Fraud?

Submitted by Doug Doe on Mon, 06/06/2016 - 5:15pm
  • Donate only to charities that you know and trust
  • Be wary of charities that seem to have been formed specifically in response to a particular disaster
  • Contact the Oklahoma Secretary of State to find out if the charity is registered in Oklahoma. Contact the SOS at (405) 521-3912 or search charitable organization listings online at www.sos.ok.gov/charity/.
  • Ask for written information regarding the solicitor’s charity

How Can I Best Avoid Home Repair Fraud?

Submitted by Doug Doe on Mon, 06/06/2016 - 5:14pm
  • Ask for referrals from people you trust
  • Use local contractors
  • Obtain written estimates and references
  • Check out contractors with the Public Protection Unit or Better Business Bureau
  • Make sure roofers are registered with the Construction Industries Board. You may contact the board at (405) 521-6550.
  • Insist on a written agreement that includes all relevant details for the project
  • Be wary of contractors who:
    • Solicit door-to-door

How Does the State's Price Gouging Statue Work?

Submitted by Doug Doe on Mon, 06/06/2016 - 5:12pm

In counties where the Governor or the President has declared a state of emergency:

  • During the declaration of emergency and for 30 days thereafter, price increases of 10% or more on most goods and services are prohibited.
  • During the declaration of emergency and for 180 days thereafter, price increases of 10% or more on dwelling units, storage space and goods related to home repair or restoration are prohibited.
  • Common complaints:
    • Food and Water
    • Hotel Rooms and Apartments
    • Rental Cars
    • Building Materials