Don't fall victim to severe weather scam artists - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Don't fall victim to severe weather scam artists

LEE COUNTY, AL (WTVM) -

Bobby Warren is one of dozens of family members who have traveled hundreds of miles to help loved ones recover what they lost in Tuesday's tornado.

"Although it's sad because there are a lot of memories in this home, the important thing is they got away with their lives and they got away without injury and we're just so thankful for that," explains Warren.

Warren's sister-in-law and her husband barely escaped the category F-3 twister that tore their home of over 30 years to pieces.

A community now bands together to salvage any precious memories that are left.

"What is really amazing is the assistance we are getting from people we don't even know. They have come in and are helping us find things, but they are just doing everything they can to help and we're just so thankful," says Warren.

And even though the cleanup efforts may take weeks, when the rebuilding process begins, we want you to be prepared.

"Whenever you have a natural disaster in the area, you have people that are going to have evil intent, who are going to go into the area and try to take advantage of people who are at a disadvantage because of their circumstance," explains Lee County Sheriff, Jay Jones.

First, use caution with out-of-town contractors. These people must have a business license in Lee County to work.

Also, complete a background check, always get a least three referrals and never pay up front.

Lastly, always read your contract carefully. It may specify that they will complete the work within a certain number or days, but especially in a situation like a natural disaster, people do not have time to wait.

"A little bit of background checking might save you years of frustration," says Jones.

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