TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- Government officials want to remind those who have to rebuild after the tornadoes to be wary of scam artists.
Attorney General Jim Hood and the Board of Contractors advise residents to only use licensed contractors to do the work to avoid vulnerability to any scams.
Contractor licenses can be verified online at www.msboc.us
Hood says other ways to avoid scams is to use Mississippi contractors, be wary of supposed contractors who come to homes soliciting business as cleanup efforts continue and request and talk with references.
He adds citizens should put all terms and requirements in a contract.
Other scams seen in storm aftermath often involve tree damage.
Before hiring someone to take care of fallen trees, Hood says to make sure the company is insured and contact the insurer for a copy of the insurance certificate, ask for recent and local references, and contact the Consumer Protection Division or the Better Business Bureau of Mississippi to see if they have complaints against the company.
He also says to get estimates from more than one company and make sure the companies will cut down and remove the tree from the property.
Hood says the most effective way to prosecute a fraudulent home repair contractor is by taking photo or video of them.
If anyone suspects home repair fraud, contact the Office of the Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division at 601-359-4230 or 1-800-281-4418 to file a complaint.