Attorney General Warns of Disaster Scams Following Floods
AUSTIN, June 2, 2015 - Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton today held a press conference with local officials to raise awareness on the issue of scams and possible price gouging following disasters. He also visited several emergency and volunteer centers in San Marcos and Wimberley to survey the damage in wake of the floods that devastated the area.
“Throughout these storms and floods, we’ve witnessed the courage of our first responders and the generosity of neighbors coming together to help their fellow Texans,” Attorney General Paxton said. ”The last thing people who have lost everything need are bad actors taking advantage of their circumstances. To that end, I’d like to caution everyone in any area affected by flood to be extremely careful with people selling you services. In Texas, the Office of the Attorney General is the voice of the victim – whether that’s a victim of a crime, the victim of a storm, or, unfortunately, sometimes both.”
The attorney general was joined by Hays County Judge Bert Cobb, San Marcos Mayor Daniel Guerrero, OAG Law Enforcement Director David Maxwell and Consumer Protection Chief Tommy Prud’homme.
Scams involving contractors failing to perform work they were paid to do are not uncommon following a disaster like this. Flood victims are reminded to be wary of contractors from out of the area, don’t rush into signing a contract, ask for references and check with the Better Business Bureau to ensure they’re working with a trustworthy business. In addition, under state law, once the governor issues a disaster declaration, vendors are prohibited from charging exorbitant prices for necessities during and after the crisis.
Gov. Greg Abbott has declared a state of disaster in the following 70 Texas counties: Angelina, Archer, Bastrop, Blanco, Bosque, Bowie, Burleson, Caldwell, Cass, Cherokee, Clay, Collin, Comal, Cooke, Denton, Dewitt, Eastland, Edwards, Ellis, Fannin, Fayette, Gaines, Garza, Gillespie, Grayson, Grimes, Guadalupe, Harris, Harrison, Hays, Henderson, Hidalgo, Hill, Hood, Houston, Jasper, Johnson, Kaufman, Kendall, Lamar, Leon, Liberty, Lynn, Madison, Milam, Montague, Navarro, Newton, Nueces, Parker, Real, Red River, Refugio, Rusk, Sabine, San Jacinto, Smith, Travis, Tyler, Uvalde, Van Zandt, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Wharton, Wichita, Williamson, Wilson, Wise and Zavala.
Texans in affected counties who believe they have been scammed or encountered price gouging should call the Office of the Attorney General’s toll-free complaint line at (800) 621-0508 or file a complaint online at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.