Scam Artists Target Tulsa-Area Storm Victims

Friday, April 3rd 2015, 10:32 pm
By: News On 6

In west Tulsa, you'll find signs in yards everywhere you look, advertising contractors and roofers.

Neighbors say it's been hard to figure out who to hire, due to crossing paths with crooks.

"People are just desperate to get something taken care of, and they are in a compromising kind of position,” said scam victim Brad Hardy.

Deputies say, the more days that pass, the fewer fake contractors you'll find.

Capt. Billy McKelvey says the biggest complaint he's hearing right now from storm victims is about roofing companies tricking people into signing a contract.

"[They are] wanting to crawl on top of people's houses to inspect for roof damage, and they present a waiver form allowing them the okay to get on the roof. Then, the home owners are finding out it's actually a contract to do the repairs to the house,” McKelvey said.

Even though many roofs are covered with traps, McKelvey said it's good for storm victims to take the time to read all contracts and to go through your insurance company first.

While storm victims are still working to clear trees and other debris from their yards, scam artists are also hard at work miles away targeting people with generous hearts.

They're knocking on doors in places like Cleveland and west Tulsa asking for donations.

"People are coming into town claiming to be part of a non-profit organization, collecting money for the disaster relief efforts, and they really aren't a non-profit organization," McKelvey said.

McKelvey said no neighborhood is off limits.

The thieves say your money will go to storm victims, and will even show paperwork with what looks like a real non-profit name, followed by a 501(c)(3). But in too many cases, they are thieves who take your money and pocket it.

If someone comes knocking and asks for a donation, deputies are asking you to go online to the IRS website and search for the organization name to verify it's legitimate before you hand over any money.