OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Attorney General Gentner Drummond is encouraging Oklahoma residents to be on the lookout for contractor fraud, especially in the wake of February’s tornadoes and severe storms.

Drummond said the weeks that follow damaging storms and tornadoes are a common time for contractor fraud to occur.

“I encourage families to research companies and contractors before hiring them,” he said. “It’s important to stay on alert and to use your best judgment when selecting a contractor or construction company.”

Ethan Shaner, deputy attorney general for the consumer protection unit, said construction and contractor fraud – like new construction, roof repairs or replacements, remodeling and concrete work – are the most common complaints submitted by consumers.

Shaner said the best ways to avoid contractor fraud are to:

  • ask for referrals from people you know and trust.
  • interview several contractors and take time to carefully review your options.
  • obtain written proposals that accurately cover all aspects of the project.
  • use caution if asked for a substantial up-front payment or cash payment.
  • use a local company that is established in the community.

Drummond said this warning comes during National Consumer Protection Week, a time designated for helping people understand their consumer rights and avoid frauds and scams.

Anyone can contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit to find out if complaints have been filed against a contractor. Anyone who suspects contractor fraud should contact the Office of the Oklahoma Attorney General.

Consumer protection information is available on the Attorney General’s website or by calling 1-833-681-1895.