Delmont Tornado Victims May Deal With Another Kind of Danger

State officials warn people of potential contracting scams

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State officials say 84 structures have been damaged in and around Delmont.

While people are still in the early stages of cleanup and assessing the damage, state officials are already warning residents of potential contracting scams.

Attorney General Marty Jackley released a statement Wednesday saying that while many contractors follow legitimate business practices there are many that try to take unfair advantage of situations like Delmont.

Residents of Delmont are trying to put the pieces of their life back together after a tornado damaged dozens of homes and buildings.

Although the storm has passed, there’s still another potential danger.

Attorney General Marty Jackley said, “Making sure that somebody isn’t out there trying to take unfair advantage of the people of Delmont that have already fallen victim to these conditions.”

Jackley is referring to contracting scammers.

Jackley said, “These will be individuals that often times come from out of state. They don’t have a sales tax license, which is really the first big indicator that there may be something not right.”

Jackley says contracting scammers will either do shabby work or take a down payment from a customer and never produce any work.

“We’ve had situations in the Attorney General’s Consumer Division where it has involved thousands of dollars,” said Jackley.

But to protect the finances of Delmont tornado victims, Jackley has a few suggestions when choosing a professional contractor.

Jackley said, “Make sure homeowners look for reliable contractors, often times local contractors have built a reputation. We encourage homeowners to maybe ask for references.”

Jackley says when disasters strike people can make mistakes because they are eager to get their life back to normal. He reminds people that timely and cheap methods aren’t always the safest route to go.

Jackley said, “Look towards reputable contractors or make sure that the contractor that they’re signing up with can complete the work at the cost of which they’re saying they can.”

Jackley also suggests that homeowners make payments to contractors by check and make final payments only after the work is completed.

Jackley encourages people who have questions about a contractor or type of service being offered to call the South Dakota Division of Consumer Protection at 1-800-300-1986.