SMITHVILLE – Smithville residents should expect scam artists to try their luck during the rebuilding of the tornado-ravaged town, state Attorney General Jim Hood said Monday.
During a visit to Smithville, he warned residents to beware of people posing as officials, knocking on doors and asking for personal information such as Social Security numbers. He also advised giving out personal information only to people with official badges or to people working at the official government booths.
Residents should also be cautious about hiring people to cut up downed trees or do repair work.
He received one report Monday of possible price gouging for tree removal in Smithville, which he said would be investigated.
Con artists won’t be tolerated in Smithville, said Mayor Gregg Kennedy.
“I have absolutely no patience whatsoever for anyone trying to take advantage of the victims of Smithville,” Kennedy said. “If we catch anyone taking advantage of the citizens of Smithville, we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. We will show no sympathy.”
Hood warned residents not to pay for work in advance, and to make sure to get a contract in writing before any work is done.
He passed out fliers with a sample contract. The fliers are available at the Smithville command center in the parking lot of Piggly Wiggly or at www.agjimhood.com.
Also, residents should take pictures of the workers, their vehicles and their license plate in case evidence is needed later for fraud.
Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal