SD Attorney General warns of potential contractor scams following Sioux Falls storms

PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg is urging residents to be vigilant of transient contractor scams following the severe weather in Sioux Falls.

"In this time of great damage and tragedy we must remain vigilant as the clean-up begins,” Ravnsborg said. “Sadly, some may try to take advantage of this tragedy for personal gain. I encourage consumers to take their time and do their due diligence in hiring the right contractor and not fall victim to a scammer. When in doubt please contact our Division of Consumer Protection.”

When choosing professionals to aid with debris removal and repairs:

- Take the time to evaluate the contractor before hiring.
- Homeowners should look for a reliable contractor with a proven track record who readily offers credentials.
- Ask for references. Legitimate contractors should be more than willing to provide a list of satisfied customers to verify their work.
- Ask for a written estimate and a written contract.
- Ask for sales tax license.
- Keep a copy of the final, signed contract. Read this contract carefully before signing. This contract will usually be binding once you have both agreed to it. The contract should state that any changes in the project should include a Change Order signed by both and put guarantees in writing. Any guarantees made by the contractor should be written into the contract.
- Obtain a local building permit, if required.
- Make final payments only after the work is completed. Do not sign completion papers or make the final payment until the work is completed to your satisfaction.
- Pay by check. Avoid on-the-spot cash payments. The safest route is to write a check to the contracting company and not an individual.

A list of licensed arborists in Sioux Falls can be found Click here. Consumers can file a complaint directly on the Attorney General's Consumer Protection website at https://consumer.sd.gov. For any additional information, consumers can email the Office at consumerhelp@state.sd.us or call 800-300-1986.