RALEIGH (WTVD) --As Hurricane Matthew continues its destructive path knocking down trees, causing severe flooding and destroying homes, the heavy winds and rain could cause major damage here and possibly attract scam artists.
North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper held a news conference Wednesday morning to warn residents about scams connected to the storm.
Officials say common hurricane scams include price gouging, home repair scams, charity scams and people posing as FEMA officials.
"My office will be paying close watch during this state of emergency," Cooper said.
Watch Cooper's full press conference
He said a consumer resource team will be available through the weekend.
"We hope this hurricane will turn away and that these resources will go unneeded but unfortunately some people take advantage of a catastrophe or even an approaching storm to line their own pockets," Cooper added. "They can offer help to people such as boarding up windows before a storm."
After the storm, Cooper said scammers can pose as FEMA officials or home repair companies. They ask for payment up front to fix houses and never do the work.
Cooper recommends not paying for work up front, asking for an official ID if someone claims to be from the government and donating to legitimate charities only.
The attorney general stressed that residents should contact their insurance company if the storm damages their home and take pictures of the damage.
If you've been a victim of a scam, contact the North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper's consumer hotline at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or fill out a complaint at www.ncdoj.gov.
Keep in mind the price gouging law is in effect for the 66 counties in a state of emergency due to the hurricane, so it's illegal to hike up prices too high.
The price gouging law due to the gas shortage is still in effect through October 16.
For more information visit www.ncdoj.gov