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Lawton contractor concerns

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - People who live in areas damaged by Sunday night's storms said they're getting calls and visits from out-of-town contractors who are eager to make repairs. That's prompted warnings about how to keep from getting ripped off.

One Lawton resident told 7News he started getting calls last night, including one from a person who claimed to be from Newcastle, and that his company would be in the area tomorrow, lining up jobs.

While the offer may be legitimate, local officials point out that it's quite common for scammers to swoop in after a disaster, promising quick work at a low price.

John Davis said he was skeptical from the start.

"I asked them how did you get my number..they told me they would be in the area and that they were looking for jobs for roofing because of the storm and I asked them how did you get my number...they said they got it from the weather service so I started thinking there is a red flag," Davis said.

Davis said as the conversation continued, they pressed him to make an appointment.

"Well we can schedule you Tuesday or Wednesday and I said we need it as soon as possible. They said we cant get you Tuesday, we can schedule in Wednesday I said okay that will be fine. So I scheduled an appointment. I hung the phone up and got to thinking to myself why can't they get you in and how did they get my number," Davis said.

Davis called back and canceled the appointment, but said the person who answered the phone didn't identify the name of the business he was calling.  Davis made another call Tuesday, to try and get that information, but got a busy signal.

Lawton District Manager for Salazar Roofing and Construction Gary Henry said he's seen countless incidents like this after severe storms.  

"Well you can just knock on someone door and say I'm from so and so roofing from Oklahoma city. Oklahoma city is so big there is probably twelve hundred some roofing companies in the city so its hard to say I've never heard of them but they are out of Oklahoma city I wouldn't have heard from them," Henry said.

Comanche County Emergency Management Officer Public Information officer Ashleigh Hensch said there are plenty of ways to make sure you're dealing with a legitimate contractor.

"Never agree to anything up front. Get their contact information, get their business information. Make sure to get a business card or the name of the company and ask for references. If you can make sure the work that they have done in the past is legitimate then that's one step forward and never just settle one one. Try to have at least 3 bids that are on official letter head that way you make sure they are not going to over charge you," Hensch said.

Davis said he's sharing his story to help others who may be in desperate need of repairs.

"Its pretty much I don't want that to happen to anybody. I would not want it  to happen to me...and I just don't want it to happen," Davis said.

Davis said they have already reached out to some local roof repair companies to fix the damage.

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