PANAMA CITY, Fla (WJHG/WECP) - Since Hurricane Michael struck our area has attracted contractors from all over the country to help rebuild our community, but some have come to help themselves.
Unlicensed contractors have become a serious problem for the most vulnerable in our community and the Bay County Sheriff's Office has led the charge in trying to stop the unlicensed contracting.
They held a public seminar to educate our citizens on how to best protect themselves and their neighbors from these unscrupulous operators.
Attendees heard from the State Attorney’s office, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, and the Federal prosecutor's office about the scams that they could fall victim to and how to best remedy those situations.
The most effective way to check a contractors license is by going to the Department of Business and Professional Regulations website to see if your contractor is licensed in the state of Florida.
BCSO Investigator Paul Vecker said, "One of the things that we've done here is we brought a great number of brochures so people can pick up all the numbers necessary to find out whether or not this person is licensed whether or not there have been complaints against that individual before they hire him."
Other things to watch for are contractors that want large down payments or show an unwillingness to sign contracts and be wary of signing contracts that assign your insurance benefits over to a contractor.