Recent storms in Kentucky have resulted in wide spread wind and flood damage affecting many consumers. Attorney General Greg Stumbo is warning residents needing repair work done quickly to repair storm damaged homes and property are at risk from a new threat: unscrupulous fly-by-night contractors, also known as “storm chasers.”
Stumbo announced that unlawful conduct by storm chasers trying to take advantage of storm victims will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
“Con artists who take advantage of other people’s misfortune are beyond contempt. We will use all the enforcement tools at our disposal to vigorously prosecute fly-by-night storm chasers. Disasters bring out the best in people and we’re encouraged by the response of Kentuckians who are pitching in to help their less fortunate friends and neighbors. Unfortunately, storms also bring out the worst in some people, so we’re doing everything we can to get the word out to consumers to be on guard against these con artists. Every preventive measure must be taken to ensure the people of the affected communities are protected and that the victims of this disaster are not made victims again,” said Stumbo.
According to Stumbo, a disaster creates a fertile environment for fraud. Victims of natural disasters are extremely vulnerable to unscrupulous contractors and scam artists. Common natural disaster scams include outright fraud, shoddy construction, price gouging, charity scams, impersonating officials, and loan scams.
Stumbo’s Consumer Protection Division will also be contacting local officials in the affected areas to encourage them to establish a contractor registration program for their communities whereby contractors would be required to register with the county prior to doing business.
The program has been used by communities in the past to discourage fly-by-night contractors from attempting to do business in protected communities. The Attorney General’s Office will assist with and offer services to the counties in establishing the simple registration program.
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