Mo. AG warns of price gouging, scams in wake of tornadoes, storms, flooding

Mo. AG warns of price gouging, scams in wake of tornadoes, storms, flooding
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office reports price gouging, construction fraud and charity fraud are very common following a disaster. (Source: Pixabay/stock image)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KFVS) - In the wake of Wednesday’s tornado in Jefferson City, recent storms and on-going flooding, Attorney General Eric Schmitt is urging Missourians to be vigilant when making repairs.

Schmitt is concerned about scammers and price gouging.

Anyone experiencing or witnessing fraud is asked to report any wrong-doing to the Attorney General’s Office by contacting the Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-392-8222 or here.

The AG’s Office reports price gouging, construction fraud and charity fraud are very common following a disaster.

Missourians are urged to follow these tips to spot and avoid scams during their recovery efforts:

Price Gouging: In the immediate aftermath of natural disasters when the need for food and supplies is high is when the potential for price gouging is highest. This could include food, water, gasoline, hotel rooms, kerosene, gas powered generators, and other basic necessities. Missouri law prohibits individuals and businesses from substantially raising their prices for the necessities of life during an emergency.

Construction fraud:

  • Get everything in writing. Thoroughly review your contract. Know the start and end date.
  • Research the company before you sign a contract. Get all their contact information.
  • Beware of anyone who looks or acts unprofessional or offers to save you money by using materials left over from another job. Storm chasers are very common after disasters.
  • Obtain at least two to three estimates
  • Never pay in cash
  • Get receipts for materials
  • Make sure your insurance company is working with you to provide the proper estimate and coverage under your policy.
  • Take a photo of their contractor and the contractors vehicle with license plate
  • Take a video of the payment of money and the contractors agreement as to what work will be done and when

Charity Fraud:

  • Watch out for charities that use names closely resembling legitimate charities.
  • Don’t commit over the phone unless you have investigated the legitimacy of the organization.
  • Avoid cash donations and make checks payable to the organization, not to an individual.
  • When in doubt, call the charity and ask them if they are aware of the solicitations being done in their name.

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