–office to provide information on consumer protection, avoiding clean-up scams–
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster’s Consumer Protection Division will participate in a series of resource centers in flood-ravaged areas in Eastern and Southeastern Missouri scheduled January 8-15. Representatives from the Attorney General’s Office will provide resource materials with tips on selecting reputable contractors, avoiding price gouging, protecting personal information from identity fraud, and other scams seen after natural disasters.
“Unfortunately, unscrupulous individuals take advantage of natural disasters to cheat people who are trying to get their lives and property back to normal,” Koster said. “My office hopes to arm people with information to avoid these scams and get the quality help they need.”
Following the May 2011 tornado in Joplin, Koster’s office successfully pursued fraudulent contractors and towing companies, and scam artists perpetrating charity fraud. He said his office will be watching for individuals who try to take advantage of those whose homes and businesses were flooded in Eastern and Southeastern Missouri.
Koster said one of the biggest scams the office typically sees following disasters is fly-by-night “storm chasers” who go door-to-door offering cleanup work. Too often, these people insist on upfront payment, only to take the money and then disappear without doing the work. Information provided at the resource centers will give consumers valuable tips to avoid these scams, including considering how long the company has been in business, asking for insurance and licensing information, and checking with the Better Business Bureau and the Attorney General’s Office about a contractor before agreeing to have the work done.
Following is the schedule for the multi-agency resource centers:
Southeast Missouri (serving Cape Girardeau County and Scott County)
Friday, January 8, 9:00 a.m – 4:00 p.m.
The Salvation Army
701 Good Hope Street
Cape Girardeau, MO
Saturday, January 9, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, January 10, 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Valley Middle School
4300 Gravois Road
House Springs, MO
Monday, January 11, 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, January 12, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Pacific Eagles Hall
707 West Congress Street
St. Louis County
Thursday, January 14, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Friday, January 15, 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Manchester United Methodist Church
129 Woods Mill Road