Lutherville-Timonium residents are no strangers to solicitation scams.
Fortunately, the area was only lightly touched by Friday night's storm, which left thousands without power. Some Howard County residents are experiencing their fourth day without electricity.
In the wake of the storm, Attorney General Doug Gansler is warning residents to be cautious of solicitors, scammers or anyone looking to make a quick buck off of a tragedy.
From the Office of the Attorney General:
Warning signs that consumers should look for following severe weather include:
- Traveling salesmen who come knocking on your door immediately after a disaster
- High-pressure sales tactics
- Demands for up-front payments
- Demands for an immediate decision
- Advance-fee loans that “guarantee” a loan to rebuild your home or business
Before you give anyone your money, Attorney General Gansler advises Maryland homeowners and small businesses to be cautious and:
- Check to see if a contractor is licensed by the Maryland Home Improvement Commission by calling 410-230-6309 or visiting http://www.dllr.state.md.us/license/mhic/. Consumers can also ask the Commission about the contractor’s complaint history.
- Deal only with contractors who have an established Maryland business.
- Obtain at least three bids for major repair work and check references. Be cautious if one of the bids is much lower than the others.
- Make certain that all important details concerning the work are written into the bid and contract, including: all of the work that the contractor has agreed to perform, the dates the work will begin and is expected to be completed, the total cost of the work, the type and quality of materials to be used, how and when payments will be made, and the provisions of warranties on the materials and labor.
AG Gansler also advises consumers to be wary of phony relief efforts, fraudulent charities and scam artists who use the name of an organization similar to a well-known charity. Marylanders should contribute only to organizations that they know well and that willingly provide written information about their charitable efforts. Consumers should avoid making cash donations and always make checks payable to the organization, not the individual soliciting.