OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond is reminding residents to guard against contractor fraud when rebuilding after Wednesday night’s storms and tornadoes.

On Wednesday, April 19th, numerous tornadoes tore through Oklahomacausing damage to areas like McClain and Pottawatomie Counties.

A large tornado that was wrapped in rain formed near the Cole and Dibble area, causing significant damage to homes and property.

The tornado reformed near the Pottawatomie County line, hitting just south of the town of Pink. The tornado then turned north, causing damage in Shawnee.

According to the McClain County Sheriff’s Office, the storm also claimed at least three lives.

Initial reports indicate that Oklahoma saw at least eight tornadoes that touched down. Now, it will be up to the National Weather Service to complete damage surveys and determine the size and extent of the damage.

Now, the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit is placing signs in affected areas to help storm victims protect against contractor fraud.

Tips for Avoiding Fraud

  • Stay patient, research companies and resist the urge to make quick decisions in the moment;
  • Ask people you trust for the name of a reliable contractor;
  • Avoid fly-by-night companies and use local companies that are established in the community;
  • Obtain written estimates from multiple companies;
  • Be cautious if an individual or business asks for a substantial up-front payment or cash payment;
  • Use your best judgement. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

The Emergency Price Stabilization Act is in effect in five Oklahoma counties impacted hardest by tornadoes and severe weather last night. The five counties are Cleveland, Lincoln, McClain, Oklahoma and Pottawatomie.

The law, also referred to as the price gouging statute, prohibits an increase of more than 10 percent for the price of goods and services and helps protect citizens from unfair price hikes.

Attorney General Gentner Drummond warned that anyone who violates the Act is subject to facing legal consequences. 

If you suspect you have been a victim of fraud, call the Consumer Protection Unit at 1-833-681-1895.