Storm Damage Scam Alerts

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant is reaching out to congressional leaders for help with storm recovery. Meanwhile, as cleanup intensifies within affected areas, there is another word of warning that's being issued to victims.

"My next door neighbor, his house is gone. My other neighbor's house is also gone," says Felicia Mitchell of Louisville. She's one of the many residents there who lost her home to Monday's EF-4 tornado. Odie Keen is Mitchell's neighbor. His home was also destroyed.

"The Lord's blessed us, and I'm still here, and thank God that this is just stuff," says Keen.

"I am blessed, and thankful," says Mitchell.

Although both storm victims feel fortunate just to have survived, there are people who pose as contractors who prey on such victims by starting work, but not finishing it.

"First you want to make sure that they are properly licensed to do the work that they're doing," says Mississippi Better Business Bureau CEO, John O'Hara. "Make sure that they're licensed to do the work within the state that they're doing work for. You want to check their background and get some references from them."

O'Hara is advising residents to check his agency's website to find out if complaints have been filed against the contractor being considered, and also to limit the amount of money that's initially given to contractors.

"With contractors, you never want to pay more than 1/3 of the cost up front," says O'Hara. "If someone is asking for a lot of money up front to start work, that should be a red flag."

O'Hara says putting these tips into practice will hopefully help storm victims continue to make the best they can of this very bad situation.

"Our two dogs made it," says Louisville storm victim Mary Katherine Hunt. "We're just missing our cat and my mom just found her wedding ring. So, things are kind of looking up."