Officials Warn of Con Artists in Recovery Effort

(AP Photo/Reinhold Matay)
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The state of Florida is warning about the threat of con artists looking to rip off tornado victims in central Florida.

State spokeswoman Liz Compton says some scammers likely will try
to turn the tragedy into a moneymaker for themselves.

She says swindlers often pose as contractors who say they can make quick repairs to damaged homes.

Compton says people can check with the state to see if a contractor is licensed or if the company has a history of complaints.

Ask for and verify local references. Get more than one written estimate.

Don't automatically accept the low bid, especially if it's a lot lower.

Compton says scam artists often use such techniques as going door to door looking for business, asking you to buy the construction materials for a job, or claiming to have leftover materials from another job so you can get a discount on the work.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)