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Ky. AG's office works to stop storm-related scammers

Natural disasters bring out the best in people as we have seen for nearly three weeks now in Western Kentucky but they can also bring out the worst. The Kentucky Attorney General’s Office is doing what it can to stop scammers from preying on Kentuckians who are already hurting from the deadly tornadoes that ripped through their towns.

Philip Heleringer is the Deputy Executive Director of the Office of Consumer Protection with the Attorney General’s Office. Heleringer is overseeing a program to certify contractors from around the country who
are flocking to the area to help clean-up and rebuild.

“We are here primarily to assist the city and the county with registering contractors. So anybody whose doing any construction or repair work within the city limits or within the county, they are required to register with the city and the county and we’re helping both entities with that.”

Heleringer says once contractors have filled out all
the paperwork with the Attorney General’s office, they’ll be given an orange placard to show to home and business owners.

“Contractors do need to be registered and once they see that orange certificate they can rest assured that that entity is registered.”

The pop-up office has been operating in Mayfield since Monday afternoon.

“Everybody has come together and done a great job to work together to get everything set up and operational as quickly and as efficiently as we can.” Heleringer says, “Thanks go out to all the local officials here.

They’ve been very welcoming and very helpful in helping us set up and vice versa. We’ve tried to do our part to help the folks where we can to help them set up as well.”

So what do you do if you are the victim of a scam or price gouging?

“They can report it to our office. We’ve got an online form that folks can fill out for a scam report or price gouging. They can call our office as well if they feel like they’ve been a victim of identity theft, they can report that to our office. We also encourage people to report that as well to their local law enforcement. So the sheriff’s office or the police department.”

You can: Report a scam at www.ag.ky.gov/scams

Report a scam by calling 888-432-9257 or 502-696-5485 Report suspected price gouging at www.ag.ky.gov/pricegouging Find general tips about natural disaster scams at www.ag.ky.gov/naturaldisasterscams

Karyn Czar joined the WUKY News team July 1, 2013, but she's no stranger to radio.