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For Immediate Release
June 29, 2006
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

ATTORNEY GENERAL WARNS CONSUMERS TO BE WARY OF STORM-RELATED SCAMS

In wake of the recent major thunderstorms that rolled through the state, Attorney General Joseph J. Curran, Jr. warns Marylanders to be wary of home repair scams and other consumer fraud that often follows these types of storms.

Many citizens are faced with major damage to their homes due to the storms that ravaged the area. This is an opportune time for con artists to strike. “Unfortunately, scam artists try to take advantage of those who have been affected by storm damage and other disasters,” Curran said. “They often travel from state to state looking for victims of storms.”

Curran reminds Marylanders whose homes have been damaged from the storms that they should take caution and avoid offers from contractors who solicit door-to-door, especially those contractors who want payment up-front or pressure homeowners to make an immediate decision.

Curran advises homeowners to:

• Check to see if a contractor is licensed by the Maryland Home Improvement Commission by calling (410) 230-6309. Consumers can also ask the Commission about the contractor’s complaint history

• Only deal with contractors who have an established business

Curran also advises consumers to be aware of phony relief efforts--solicitors who use the name of an organization similar to a well-known charitable organization. Consumers can check that a charity is registered with the state, as required, by calling the Maryland Secretary of State’s Charities Division at (410) 974-5534 or 1-800-825-4510. Curran advises consumers to avoid making cash donations and to make checks payable to the organization, not the individual soliciting.

For more information on these types of scams go to Attorney General Curran’s website, www.oag.state.md.us and click on Consumer Protection for more information on home repair rip-offs.

   

Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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