Insurance officials: Storm victims in Elk City, Perkins being targeted by scam artists
ELK CITY, Okla. – Insurance officials are warning storm victims to be vigilant following a series of complaints about suspicious phone calls.
The Oklahoma Insurance Department’s Anti-Fraud Division says it has received complaints about suspicious phone calls to storm victims in Elk City and Perkins.
Officials say the scammers falsely claim to represent several well-known insurance companies and demand to inspect the customer’s roof. Insurance officials say the callers refuse to take no for an answer.
“These con artists are the lowest of the low,” said Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak. “They prey on disaster victims at a time when they’re emotionally vulnerable, stressed out and dealing with an unfamiliar situation. By giving consumers a heads up, we hope they can better protect themselves.”
So far, there are no reports of consumers losing money to the scam artists. The victims have all ended the calls before the scammers demanded money.
In addition to phone calls, scammers may go door-to-door offering goods or services.
Experts say you should always follow these tips to avoid a disaster:
- Require reference and check them out
- Only work with licensed and insured contractors
- Get more than one estimate. Don’t be pushed into signing a contract right away.
- Get everything in writing; cost, work to be done, time schedule, guarantees and payment schedule.
- Ask to see the salesperson’s driver’s license. Write down their license number and plate number.
- Never sign a contract with blanks. Fraudsters may enter unacceptable terms later.
- Never pay anyone in full until the work is completed.
If you are concerned about insurance fraud, call the Oklahoma Insurance Department at 1-800-522-0071.