Damage from major storms June 29 and in the week following was relatively light in our area - though it certainly was bad enough. But compared to what happened in other areas of West Virginia and neighboring states, the Northern Panhandle and East Ohio were lucky.
Now, however, we must prepare for a plague of locusts in the form of dishonest, fly-by-night contractors. Law enforcement officials in both our states have issued warnings about them to West Virginia and Ohio residents' whose homes and other property were damaged in the storms.
Obviously, the best way to avoid losing money to an out-of-town criminal promising to repair your home is to just say no. Dealing with reputable local companies and individuals is the best insurance against falling victim to a swindle. If in doubt, ask for identification and references. Don't fall for the old "limited time offer" on a cut-rate price for repairs. Never pay the entire bill in advance.
Even those who believe they are handling storm repair contractors prudently sometimes fall victim to crooked operators. That is where local law enforcement agencies come into the picture.
If you believe you have been "taken," call the police or sheriff's department. Rest assured, they take it personally when out-of-town criminals use scams against local residents. The sooner they are made aware of a problem, the more likely they can apprehend the culprit.
If such arrests are made in our area, the courts should come down hard - with maximum penalties - against those who would take advantage of storm victims.