Free fraud prevention training

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak has invited The National Center for the Prevention of Home Improvement Fraud (NCPHIF) to Tulsa to hold a free “SmartPower” workshop on “How to Protect Yourself From Home Improvement/Home Repair Contractor Fraud.”  The workshop will be held on Tuesday, June 21, 2011, at the Hardesty Regional Library, 8316 E. 93rd Street, Tulsa, OK 74133, from 5:30pm – 7pm.

The free 2-hour workshop is free and open to the public and will proactively help educate homeowners on how to become their own quality control managers, when undergoing a home improvement or repair project, regardless of where they are in the process. 

“Disaster/storm victims are especially vulnerable to contractor fraud,” says Phae Howard, Executive Director of NCPHIF. “After a disaster hits, predatory contractors take advantage of stressed-out and uninformed homeowners, making them victims, twice.  They also prey on seniors, first time homebuyers, women, the physically impaired, and those who speak English as a second language” she says.  “However, we get lots of calls from people who thought they were smarter than the contractor. They call us after they have been taken advantage of and want to know when we’re having our next workshop.”  

NCPHIF believes that the only way to prevent contractor scams is through education. SmartPower” workshops empower homeowners with the information they need to be “smart” about undertaking a project and working with a home improvement or home repair contractor.  Workshops are led by subject matter experts who will help homeowners navigate through the process.  Topics to be discussed include: valuable do’s and don’ts around hiring a contractor, building permits, what to do before a project, during a project and after a project, executing a contract, lien releases, typical scams, greenwashing (green fraud), how to work with your insurance agent to protect your home, conflict resolution, payment schedules, change orders, and a whole lot more.

“The importance of “SmartPower” workshops cannot be overstated.  It is not only critical, it is urgent,” says Howard.  “Homeowners need a great deal of information about what to do and what not to do when it comes to disaster repairs, to avoid becoming victims of contractor fraud.”

Howard will be visiting Joplin on June 14-15, 2011 to get information to storm victims to help prevent them from being victimized when they begin rebuilding.  NCPHIF also has a free workshop scheduled in Springfield, Missouri on June 16, 2011.

Workshop speakers include police officers, attorneys, insurance specialists, building and zoning experts, FEMA disaster inspectors, investigative reporters, and energy efficiency experts, among others.   Guest speakers include Insurance Commissioners, Assistant Attorney Generals, Police Captains, County Executives and Mayors.

Registering at or calling (855) 2-NOFRAUD is highly recommended.