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Update: Tornado victims beware of disaster scams - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Update: Tornado victims beware of disaster scams

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WASHINGTON, N.C. - The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is warning tornado victims about possible scam artists.

"This is what they are attracted to, you have storm damage. Their in it to scam people to make money and their easy at the time, because they want their houses fixed and  they want somebody to fix it," Captain Russell Davenport with the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.

Crystal Martinez suffered damage to her home during the April 25th tornado.

"I have a lot a friends that have given me that guidance, [but]without that I wouldn't know where to begin. If people are showing up at my door offering to give me estimates, I might take them because I wouldn't know what else to do," said Martinez. 

The Sheriff’s Office says property owners who are beginning clean-up and repair from tornadoes and sever weather should be vigilant of potential scammers that try to trick victims into paying cash for substandard work, or no work at all.

The Sheriff’s Office says to reduce the chances of being victimized during this time, property owners should be wary of “door-to-door” repair operations that solicit work.

Tornado victims should deal with an established company in your area; ask for references and call to confirm that the contractor does good work.

Make sure to use businesses that are licensed and insured to do the type of repairs that are needed, and be wary of contractors that demand cash or large deposits up front.

The Wilson Police Department is also warning flood victims about con artists targeting affected areas. Police say a person called from 252-674-0127 stating they would be in the area inspecting homes. The caller did not give a company or leave their name.

For more information, visit the National Storm Damage Center website at stormdamagecenter.org.

If you feel that you are the victim of a scam, contact your local law enforcement agency as soon as possible.

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