Bryan Cohen Feb. 14, 2014, 3:30pm

RALEIGH, N.C. (Legal Newsline) -- North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper is warning North Carolinians about scammers who might try to take advantage of consumers following this week's winter storm.

Cooper said Wednesday that while many tree removal companies are reputable, some unscrupulous scammers may travel to areas hit hard by natural disasters to take advantage of consumers as they try to remove trees brought down by the storm.

Snow and ice fell on much of North Carolina Wednesday and Thursday.

"Tree damage from ice storms brings out scammers trying to rip you off," Cooper said.

"After a bad storm, tree services will go door-to-door looking for customers. If you need help getting a fallen tree off your home or car, find someone qualified to do the work instead of falling for a scam."

Tree removal scammers may collect advance deposits from multiple households or an entire neighborhood and then leave before performing any work.

The scam artists also may lie about being insured, give offers to consumers that are only good for a limited time and charge extra for removing debris.

Cooper said consumers should report tree removal scams to his Consumer Protection Division and local law enforcement.

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