Potential scams arise in wake of recent flooding

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COLUMBIA - In the wake of last week's flooding, many Missourians are left taking care of damage to homes and businesses. However, with cleanup comes an opportunity for scam artists to take money from those seeking help.

"After any kind of significant event that leads to property damage we're always going to have some scam calls, and also just calls about workmen who really can't deliver what they promise," said Sean Spence, regional director at the Columbia branch of the Better Business Bureau.

Spence said scams are easily identifiable.

"When you are hiring somebody who's not really qualified to do what they're doing, they won't have paperwork, they won't want to have anything in writing, they won't have necessarily even the proper tools," Spence said.

Spence said older people are more likely to become a victim to a scam. 

"It's going to be someone who is generally older, someone who is not as able to do the work themselves, somebody who may not have as much of an ability to check a worker out before paying them," he said.

Spence said falling victim to scams like these is preventable through proactive actions. These include avoiding prepaying for work, and avoiding the use of cash if possible. Spence said that, by using a credit card, it's far easier to get money back or cancel a payment. 

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has announced he was creating a Natural Disaster Rapid Response Team to help those harmed by flooding. 

Residents needing help with flood damage repair can call the Rapid Response Team at 1-800-392-8222. To check the credibility of a business or to report a scam, call the local branch of the Better Business Bureau at 573-886-8965.