BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala (WALA) -- Cleaning up after a hurricane can be hard enough without scammers trying to take advantage.
Local leaders held a press conference on Monday warning people about fraud and telling scammers they will stop you.
“They’re looking for that person who’s desperate who needs something done right now,” said Robert Wilters, the Baldwin County District Attorney. “Citizens of Baldwin and Mobile counties try to be patient.”
Baldwin County is expected to be the main target for scammers because the area took the brunt of the damage.
Since the storm, there have been more than 40 alleged price gouging complaints that goods were being sold more than 25% higher than normal.
“We’re here to send a warning to all who seek to unjustly profit off of destruction,” said Tina Hammonds, Alabama’s Assistant Attorney General. “They’re being watched and their actions will be reported to law enforcement.”
There is also concern about shady and unlicensed contractors.
To reduce the risk of getting scammed they recommend getting everything in writing, including the scope of the project, price and what materials will be used. Also make sure the person is licensed.
“If you are scamming or stealing or hurting the people of Baldwin County who are themselves hurting then we are going to prosecute you,” Wilters said.
Alabama has laws on the books to protect against fraud in a State of Emergency, but State Representative Matt Simpson wants to go a step further and make it a felony. He plans to re-introduce a bill next session to do that.
“The goal is to be able to protect the consumers,” he said. “The legislature should step up and come in and know the consumer we hear you. We hear your concerns about people taking advantage of you.”
If you think you are being scammed the Alabama Attorney General's Office wants to hear from you. You can report scams on their website.