WLOX Editorial: Don't become a victim of fraud

After Hurricane Katrina we reported on numerous cases of contractor fraud. We sure hope it does not happen following Hurricane Isaac. However with hundreds of homes flooded in South Mississippi and other wind damage, we know that some individuals may try and take advantage of you.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency has put out tips that hopefully will help residents make good choices and not become a victim. The best way to keep from running into problems in the process is to know your contractor, do business with local individuals if you can, get references,have a written contract, and do not pay the total bill up front.

One guideline is to pay no more than ten percent up front or one thousand dollars, then the rest when the work is completed to your satisfaction. If you do sign a contract with a contractor make sure the contractor carries liability insurance and has worker's compensation coverage. Also make sure the contract has a detailed description of the work to be done, including specifics on materials.

You can find more information on hiring a contractor at www.msboc.us including a pre-screening checklist. Doing some homework up front can help insure you will not become a victim of contractor fraud.

That's our opinion, we would like to hear yours. Email your thoughts to editorials@wlox.com, or post your comments below.

David Vincent
WLOX-TV General Manager

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