The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

July 24, 2012

Wyoming sheriff warns of home contractor scams

As with the heat and the storms, contractor scams are as certain as the summer.

“We’ve had several in the last month,” explained Wyoming County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy C.S. Parker.

From construction projects to driveway paving, if someone knocks on your door and asks for the job, they probably are not legitimate, Parker said.

“Then, they want you to pay up front, so they can get the materials,” Parker said. “They disappear, and you’re out the money and the work.”

As for driveway paving, Parker noted, some will spray a black coating over the driveway, but it isn’t a sealer.

“It’s the same with these people who offer to cut trees. They take the money, but the trees are still there,” Parker said.

“Don’t pay for the job up front,” he emphasized.

Make certain to ask for references and check them out, Parker said.

If anyone has questions about anyone doing these types of jobs, they can call the sheriff’s department at 732-8000.

“We can answer their questions,” Parker said.

Additionally, federal authorities are urging residents to be alert to potential fraud during storm recovery efforts.

Scam artists may approach survivors in person, by telephone, or on the Internet, according to a spokesperson.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) does not charge for information or commodities, such as water, when working with state or other federal agencies.

FEMA does not send out text messages asking recipients to call fee-based telephone numbers.

Residents should never give Social Security numbers, bank account information, or other personal information to individuals claiming to be affiliated with the federal government.

All FEMA employees are required to carry federal employee identification. If in doubt, ask for employee identification or phone 911.

Anyone who has been victimized by fraud or suspects fraudulent activity should report it by calling 911.

— E-mail: mcbrooks@register-herald.com

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