Just as ice storms leave debris in their wake, con artists are sure to follow.

Two things worry Travis Ford with the Attorney General’s office after disasters such as the dual ice storms that tore through much of Missouri:  price gouging and fraud. Ford reminds consumers to be careful about rip-offs. Consumers might need supplies like gasoline, generators, firewood, bottled water and other necessities while they attempt to make it through power outages. Then, there is the need to clean-up debris and make repairs.

Ford says the desperation homeowners feel in wake of a destructive storm becomes a breeding ground for rip-offs. Desperate people make for easy targets. Ford advises taking a deep breath before making decisions.

Here are the tips from the Attorney General’s office:  be suspicious of door-to-door salesmen offering home repairs, do business with companies you know, get at least two estimates in writing, don’t pay until the work is done and if you feel like you’ve been had, contact the Attorney General’s office. You can call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-392-8222 or go to the Attorney General Web site

Brent Martin interviews Travis Ford (8 min MP3)