BRANSON, Mo -- With any disaster, the shysters and con artists are sure to follow. Joplin saw its share. The city of Branson and the Better Business Bureau have a warning to be careful before signing on the dotted line.
Disasters can often bring out the best in people--volunteering, donations, kindness.
It can also bring out the worst in people. "It's not just branson it happens everywhere in the nation, you might have the minority of people that come in here and take advantage of people," said Branson City Administrator Dean Kruithof.
That's why the city of Branson and the Better Business Bureau are sending out a warning--beware of scammers. "I can promise you were are going to see some new activity going on-Branson Relief or whatever," said Southwest Better Business Bureau President Judy Mills.
As we found out in Joplin, many so-called relief funds pop up. "'Send your money to me to help the people in Branson or Buffalo.' They are literally a scam. They are in it for the money," Mills said.
As a general rule only donate to organizations you know and trust--who have a foundation in the community.
Another type of scam common in disaster areas are fake and shady contractors. "Don't sign a contract now, because if that bid is good today it should be good tomorrow. It's not a rush deal," Mills explained.
Kruithof says they are not really worried about that larger, commercial properties getting scammed. Often times they have contractors they work with. What they are worried about are the Mom and Pop shops down here. They may not have the experience dealing with this type of disaster.
"Get written estimates before the work takes place," he said. "Check references if possible."
It can be easy to want the work done quickly, but the BBB says to take your time. Also make sure the person you are writing a check to is really who they say they are.
"Please take the time, whether you are donating or getting services done, take the time to check them out," Mills said.
The city of Branson is keeping track of complaints from residents and businesses about any possible scam artists trying to swindle people out of their money. Meanwhile, the Better Business Bureau urges anyone affected by the storm to check any contractor or charity of its website its smartphone app.