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Police warning of scammers after Pawnee earthquake

PAWNEE, Okla.-- It is official, Saturday’s Pawnee earthquake is now the largest in Oklahoma’s history.

Now, a community that is banding together to rebuild is worrying about possible scammers.

As far as police know there have been no victims yet, but they expect contractors to start rolling in.

It has happened time and time again, people posing as “handymen” have ripped off people who are already hurting.

The Bryants are still shaken by the 5.8 quake.

“I was down on the floor hanging on to everything I could hang on to and it just kept a getting more intense and intense, and finally I didn`t think it was going to end,” Johnny Bryant recalled.

The couple walked out to find their home of nearly 50 years crumbling.

“It was just amazing out here. There was just rock everywhere,” Bryant said.

The damage is so significant the Bryants fear their home full of memories might have to come down.

“I just throw my hands up. I don`t know what I`m going to do,” Bryant said.

The Pawnee couple is making repairs through their son-in-law who is a contractor, but they worry their neighbors could fall victim to a phony repairman.

“In a disaster there`s a lot of people who come out of the woodwork and find somebody to rip off,” Bryant said.

Police are also keeping an eye out for scammers.

“It`s disgusting. You`re taking advantage of somebody that`s already in potentially the lowest point in their life right now,” Pawnee Police Chief Wesley Clymer said.

Officers are urging residents to follow city code and make sure the contractor has a building permit issued by the city.

“When they ask for a large sum of money upfront that`s usually a pretty good sign that you may not see any services after that payment,” Clymer said.

News Channel 4 was alerted by a viewer that so called “handymen” have been trying to lure victims in by posting on Craigslist.

If you want to make sure your contractor is legitimate you can contact your city hall.