Authorities warn tornado victims of con-artists

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Updated: 5/24/2013 6:27 pm
Authorities are warning people in Moore to be careful not to became a victim of fraud in the weeks ahead.  
Fox23 was there when police put three suspected looters in cuffs on Thursday. Neighbors fear it’s only the beginning.

“They are probably already casing houses out,” Michael Woshon said. “Seeing which ones are better, looking for who’s more gullible.”

He remembers the last time a tornado hit the town of Moore.

He said, “I chased a group off from my neighbor’s house, and they were very persistent.  You have to watch out for your neighbors because they just don’t know.”

As the clean-up continues, the next step will be rebuilding, which is when attorney David Slain says con-artists will be out on the streets.

 “We will see fake contractors coming in and promising to do work and then they don’t do it, “Slain said. “People need to be careful not to become a victim for a second time. “

He said there are a few things victims can do to protect themselves. He recommends not paying a contractor upfront, instead make payments in increments. Also, ask for a written contract and look for red flags in it, like having to pay big penalty fees for canceled work. Third, ask around and see who your neighbors are using to make sure they are reputable.

“My own mother and fathers houses were destroyed by the storm, so not everyone’s family has an attorney to help protect them, ” he said.

Authorities said it could take a few weeks, before con-artists show up.
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