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Kentucky AG partners with Hopkins County officials to prevent contractor scams after tornadoes

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Jeff Dean
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NPR

A partnership between Kentucky’s attorney general and local officials in Dawson Springs and Hopkins County was launched Tuesday in an effort to prevent contractor fraud as area residents recover in the aftermath of December’s tornadoes.

A release from Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office detailed the program, which is aimed at preventing “fly-by-night” contractors that “often enter areas affected by natural disasters in an attempt to take advantage of customers.” The officials assembled an emergency contractor registration program for the region to this end.

Cameron said “implementing this contractor registration program is one step in the rebuilding process” and his office will continue to work with local officials to “deter bad actors from carrying out scams and ensure that legitimate contractors are able to work in the area.”

Hopkins County Judge-Executive Jack Whitfield and Dawson Springs Mayor Chris Smiley issued a joint statement in Cameron’s release, as well: “We are going to see Dawson Springs and Hopkins County rebuilt, and we are going to do everything we can to make sure it’s done well, done right, and better than ever.”

Beginning on Wednesday, Jan. 12, representatives from the Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection will be on site in Madisonville to assist with registering contractors. The registration office will be located in the Hopkins County Government Center at 56 North Main Street in Madisonville. The office will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Questions can be directed to the office by calling (502) 871-2424.

The program will require contractors to register before doing business. Registered contractors will be issued placards that must be displayed on their job sites and in the contractor’s vehicle. Contractors who are already registered with the City of Dawson Springs and Hopkins County can stop by the office to complete registration with Attorney General staff and receive a placard. Contractors who are not registered with the city and county will need to complete those registrations before receiving a placard.

The Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection also worked with officials in Mayfield and Graves County to launch a pilot contractor registration program in December following their community being impacted by tornadoes. The program is expanding this week to add Dawson Springs and Hopkins County as well as Caldwell County and the City of Princeton.

The program will also provide scam and fraud prevention information to Kentuckians affected by the tornadoes and storms. Brochures with scam prevention tips developed by the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division and the Home Builders Association of Kentucky will be available at the Madisonville office

Scams can be reported at ag.ky.gov/scams and suspected price gouging can be reported at ag.ky.gov/pricegouging. Kentuckians wishing to report via phone can call the Attorney General’s Natural Disaster Fraud Hotline at 502-696-5485.

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