Credit card skimmer discovered at Bend 7-Eleven

A credit and debit card skimming device found on a card reader at at Bend 7-Eleven Monday night.

The device, used to steal credit card information, was located on the card reader at the main register in the store at 1008 NW Galveston Ave.

The store manager confirmed to Central Oregon Daily News that an employee was alerted to it Monday night.

RELATED: Scam calls spoofing Deschutes County number trying to sell vacuum cleaners

The device in question was put over the “tap” portion of the reader. It was working for at least a portion of the day Monday, but has since been disabled.

The store said a report has been filed with Bend Police.

If you believe you may have used the card reader at that 7-Eleven recently, be sure to check your accounts to make sure someone hasn’t accessed it fraudulently — particularly if it was a debit card, which generally are linked to bank accounts.

Here is more information from the FBI about card skimming and how to protect yourself.

Skimming

Skimming occurs when devices illegally installed on ATMs, point-of-sale (POS) terminals, or fuel pumps capture data or record cardholders’ PINs. Criminals use the data to create fake debit or credit cards and then steal from victims’ accounts. It is estimated that skimming costs financial institutions and consumers more than $1 billion each year.

Fuel Pump Skimming

  • Fuel pump skimmers are usually attached in the internal wiring of the machine and aren’t visible to the customer.
  • The skimming devices store data to be downloaded or wirelessly transferred later.

Tips When Using a Fuel Pump

  • Choose a fuel pump that is closer to the store and in direct view of the attendant. These pumps are less likely to be targets for skimmers.
  • Run your debit card as a credit card. If that’s not an option, cover the keypad when you enter your PIN.
  • Consider paying inside with the attendant, not outside at the pump.

ATM and POS Terminal Skimming 

  • ATM skimmer devices usually fit over the original card reader.
  • Some ATM skimmers are inserted in the card reader, placed in the terminal, or situated along exposed cables.
  • Pinhole cameras installed on ATMs record a customer entering their PIN. Pinhole camera placement varies widely.
  • In some cases, keypad overlays are used instead of pinhole cameras to records PINs. Keypad overlays record a customer’s keystrokes.
  • Skimming devices store data to be downloaded or wirelessly transferred later.

Tips When Using an ATM or POS Terminal

  • Inspect ATMs, POS terminals, and other card readers before using. Look for anything loose, crooked, damaged, or scratched. Don’t use any card reader if you notice anything unusual.
  • Pull at the edges of the keypad before entering your PIN. Then, cover the keypad when you enter your PIN to prevent cameras from recording your entry.
  • Use ATMs in a well-lit, indoor location, which are less vulnerable targets.
  • Be alert for skimming devices in tourist areas, which are popular targets.
  • Use debit and credit cards with chip technology. In the U.S., there are fewer devices that steal chip data versus magnetic strip data.
  • Avoid using your debit card when you have linked accounts. Use a credit card instead.
  • Contact your financial institution if the ATM doesn’t return your card after you end or cancel a transaction.

Scam calls spoofing Deschutes County number trying to sell vacuum cleaners

Scammers are trying to use the Deschutes County Environmental Health department’s main phone number to hide their crimes, the county said Friday. And in some cases, they claim they are trying to sell vacuum cleaners.

The county said the callers appear to be spoofing — faking the Health Services’ Environmental Health main phone number. This makes it look to caller ID like the calls are coming from Deschutes County.

Some community members have reported being asked to purchase a vacuum cleaner, the county said.

As a reminder, never share personal identifying information with a caller with whom you have not initiated contact or have not verified as legitimate. 

If you have fallen victim to this or similar scams and have lost money as a result, contact Deschutes County non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911. 

RELATED: Stay alert for malware, bitcoin scams: A Crook County woman’s story

Here is advice from the Federal Communications Commission on how to protect yourself from spoofing:

  • Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately.
  • Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with “Yes” or “No.”
  • If you answer the phone and the caller – or a recording – asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls, you should just hang up. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.
  • Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
  • If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company’s or government agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request. You will usually get a written statement in the mail before you get a phone call from a legitimate source, particularly if the caller is asking for a payment.
  • Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
  • If you have a voice mail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it. Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call in from your own phone number. A hacker could spoof your home phone number and gain access to your voice mail if you do not set a password.
  • Talk to your phone company about call blocking tools and check into apps that you can download to your mobile device. The FCC allows phone companies to block robocalls by default based on reasonable analytics. More information about robocall blocking is available at fcc.gov/robocalls.

Remember to check your voicemail periodically to make sure you aren’t missing important calls and to clear out any spam calls that might fill your voicemail box to capacity.

FCC bans robocalls that uses AI-generated voices

NEW YORK (AP) — The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday outlawed robocalls that contain voices generated by artificial intelligence, a decision that sends a clear message that exploiting the technology to scam people and mislead voters won’t be tolerated.

The unanimous ruling targets robocalls made with AI voice-cloning tools under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a 1991 law restricting junk calls that use artificial and prerecorded voice messages.

The announcement comes as New Hampshire authorities are advancing their investigation into AI-generated robocalls that mimicked President Joe Biden’s voice to discourage people from voting in the state’s first-in-the-nation primary last month.

Effective immediately, the regulation empowers the FCC to fine companies that use AI voices in their calls or block the service providers that carry them. It also opens the door for call recipients to file lawsuits and gives state attorneys general a new mechanism to crack down on violators, according to the FCC.

The agency’s chairwoman, Jessica Rosenworcel, said bad actors have been using AI-generated voices in robocalls to misinform voters, impersonate celebrities and extort family members.

“It seems like something from the far-off future, but this threat is already here,” Rosenworcel told The Associated Press on Wednesday as the commission was considering the regulations. “All of us could be on the receiving end of these faked calls, so that’s why we felt the time to act was now.”

Under the consumer protection law, telemarketers generally cannot use automated dialers or artificial or prerecorded voice messages to call cellphones, and they cannot make such calls to landlines without prior written consent from the call recipient.

The new ruling classifies AI-generated voices in robocalls as “artificial” and thus enforceable by the same standards, the FCC said.

Those who break the law can face steep fines, maxing out at more than $23,000 per call, the FCC said. The agency has previously used the consumer law to clamp down on robocallers interfering in elections, including imposing a $5 million fine on two conservative hoaxers for falsely warning people in predominantly Black areas that voting by mail could heighten their risk of arrest, debt collection and forced vaccination.

The law also gives call recipients the right to take legal action and potentially recover up to $1,500 in damages for each unwanted call.

Rosenworcel said the commission started looking at making robocalls with AI-generated voices illegal because it saw a rise in these types of calls. It sought public comment on the issue last November and in January, a bipartisan group of 26 state attorneys general wrote to the FCC urging it to move forward with a ruling.

Sophisticated generative AI tools, from voice-cloning software to image generators, already are in use in elections in the U.S. and around the world.

Last year, as the U.S. presidential race got underway, several campaign advertisements used AI-generated audio or imagery, and some candidates experimented with using AI chatbots to communicate with voters.

Bipartisan efforts in Congress have sought to regulate AI in political campaigns, but no federal legislation has passed, with the general election nine months away.

The AI-generated robocalls that sought to influence New Hampshire’s Jan. 23 primary election used a voice similar to Biden’s, employed his often-used phrase, “What a bunch of malarkey” and falsely suggested that voting in the primary would preclude voters from casting a ballot in November.

New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella said Tuesday that investigators had identified the Texas-based Life Corp. and its owner, Walter Monk as the source of the calls, which went to thousands of state residents, mostly registered Democrats. He said the calls were transmitted by another Texas-based company, Lingo Telecom.

New Hampshire issued cease-and-desist orders and subpoenas to both companies, while the Federal Communications Commission issued a cease-and-desist letter to the telecommunications company, Formella said. A task force of attorneys general in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., sent a letter to Life Corp. warning it to stop originating illegal calls immediately.

According to the FCC, both Lingo Telecom and Life Corp. have been investigated for illegal robocalls in the past. In 2003, FCC issued a citation to Life Corp. for delivering illegal pre-recorded and unsolicited advertisements to residential lines.

More recently, the task force of attorneys general has accused Lingo of being the gateway provider for 61 suspected illegal calls from overseas. The Federal Trade Commission issued a cease and desist order against Lingo’s prior corporate name, Matrix Telecom, in 2022. The next year, the task force demanded that it take steps to protect its network.

Lingo Telecom said in a statement Tuesday that it “acted immediately” to help with the investigation into the robocalls impersonating Biden and quickly identified and suspended Life Corporation when contacted by the task force. A man who answered the business line for Life Corp. declined to comment on Thursday.

Time running out for Oregon winter storm SNAP replacement benefits

Oregonians in 27 counties who lost food purchased with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits due to the recent winter storms and power outages have until Feb. 16 to request replacement benefits.

The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) says households that receive SNAP in these counties can request replacement benefits for food that was spoiled or destroyed.

  • Crook
  • Deschutes
  • Jefferson
  • Klamath
  • Benton
  • Clackamas
  • Clatsop
  • Columbia
  • Coos
  • Douglas
  • Gilliam
  • Hood River
  • Jackson
  • Josephine
  • Lane
  • Lincoln
  • Linn
  • Marion
  • Morrow
  • Multnomah
  • Polk
  • Sherman
  • Tillamook
  • Umatilla
  • Wasco
  • Washington
  • Yamhill

Here is more from ODHS:

Households who live outside of these counties must request replacement benefits within 10 days of the loss per the normal process.

Households who disposed of food bought with SNAP benefits that was destroyed due to these events can request that replacement benefits be issued for the cost of the lost food. The maximum amount of SNAP that can be replaced is the value of the food up to the normal monthly benefit for the household.

Households should be prepared to provide a list of the lost food, the cost to replace it, and may have to provide proof of the event that destroyed the food.

Replacement benefits must be requested by the deadline by:

Detailed instructions and the request form can be found online at https://www.oregon.gov/odhs/food/pages/snap-replacement.aspx#disaster  

Once approved, replacement benefits are added to the households’ existing Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card.

Deadly listeria outbreak that started in 2014 linked to California business

A California cheese and dairy company is the source of a decadelong outbreak of listeria food poisoning that killed two people and sickened more than two dozen, federal health officials said Tuesday. One of the people sickened was in Oregon.

New lab and inspection evidence linked soft cheeses and other dairy products made by Rizo-Lopez Foods of Modesto, California, to the outbreak, which was first detected in June 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Since then, at least 26 people in 11 states have been sickened. They include a person who died in California in 2017 and one who died in Texas in 2020, CDC officials said.

On Monday, the company recalled more than 60 soft cheeses, yogurt and sour cream sold under the brands Tio Francisco, Don Francisco, Rizo Bros, Rio Grande, Food City, El Huache, La Ordena, San Carlos, Campesino, Santa Maria, Dos Ranchitos, Casa Cardenas, and 365 Whole Foods Market.

The CDC previously investigated cases of food poisoning tied to queso fresco and other similar types of cheese in 2017 and 2021, but there was not enough evidence to identify a source.

New illnesses were reported in December, prompting CDC to reopen the investigation. The strain of listeria linked to the outbreak was found in a cheese sample from Rizo-Lopez Foods. Federal officials confirmed that queso fresco and cotija made by the company were making people sick.

The recalled products were distributed nationwide at stores and retail deli counters, including El Super, Cardenas Market, Northgate Gonzalez, Superior Groceries, El Rancho, Vallarta, Food City, La Michoacana, and Numero Uno Markets.

Listeria infections can cause serious illness and, in rare cases, death. People who are pregnant, older than 65 or have weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable. Symptoms — like muscle aches, fever and tiredness — usually start within two weeks after eating contaminated foods, but can start earlier or later.

The CDC said consumers who have these products should discard them and thoroughly clean the refrigerator, counters and other contact sites. Listeria can survive in the refrigerator and easily contaminate other foods and surfaces.

Central Oregon Daily News contributed to this report.

Honda recalling 750,000 vehicles for faulty passenger seat air bag sensor

DETROIT (AP) — Honda is recalling more than three quarters of a million vehicles in the U.S. because a faulty sensor may cause the front passenger air bags to inflate when they’re not supposed to.

The recall covers certain Honda Pilot, Accord, Civic sedan, HR-V and Odyssey models from the 2020 through 2022 model years, as well as the 2020 Fit and Civic Coupe. Also included are the 2021 and 2022 Civic hatchback, the 2021 Civic Type R and Insight, and the 2020 and 2021 CR-V, CR-V Hybrid, Passport, Ridgeline and Accord Hybrid.

Affected models from the Acura luxury brand include the 2020 and 2022 MDX, the 2020 through 2022 RDX and the 2020 and 2021 TLX.

Documents posted Tuesday by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say that the front passenger seat weight sensor may crack and short circuit, and fail to turn off the air bag as intended. The sensors are required to disable the air bags if children or small adults are in the seats. If that doesn’t happen, it increases the risk of injury.

Dealers will replace the seat sensors at no cost to owners. Owners will be notified starting March 18.

Honda says in documents that it has 3,834 warranty claims but no reports of injuries or deaths from the problem between June 30, 2020 and Jan. 19 of this year.

GM recalls 323,000 heavy-duty pickups because tailgates can open unexpectedly

General Motors is recalling more than 323,000 heavy-duty pickup trucks in the U.S. because the electronic tailgate release switches can short circuit and open the gates while the vehicles are in park.

The recall covers certain Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500 trucks from the 2020 through 2024 model years.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says in documents posted on its website Tuesday that water can get into the switches and cause the tailgates to open when in park gear. The agency says that can result in unsecured cargo falling out of the beds, creating a road hazard and increasing the risk of a crash.

GM is advising owners to check that the tailgate is closed and latched before they drive the trucks. Dealers will replace an exterior touchpad switch. Owners are to be notified by letter starting March 18.

GM dealers also have been told to stop selling affected vehicles until repairs are made.

The company says in documents that it has 136 complaints about the tailgates opening unexpectedly. GM reported one complaint of a minor injury and three complaints of minor property damage.

Some Americans saddled with credit card debt as rent and prices remain high

NEW YORK (AP) — While the U.S. economy is broadly healthy, pockets of Americans have run through their savings and run up their credit card balances after battling inflation for more than two years.

Experts worry that members of these groups — mostly lower- and middle-income Americans, who tend to be renters — are falling behind on their debts and could face further deterioration of their financial health in the year ahead, particularly those who have recently resumed paying off student loans.

“The U.S. economy is currently performing better than most forecasters expected a year ago, thanks in large part to a resilient consumer,” wrote Shernette McLoud, an economist with TD Economics, in a report issued Wednesday. “However, more recently that spending is increasingly being financed by credit cards.”

Americans held more than $1.05 trillion on their credit cards in the third quarter of 2023, a record, and a figure certain to grow once the fourth-quarter data is released by Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. next month. A recent report from the credit rating company Moody’s showed that credit card delinquency rates and charge-off rates, or the percent of loans that a bank believes will never be repaid, are now well above their 2019 levels and are expected to keep climbing.

These worrisome metrics coincide with the average interest rate on a bank credit card of roughly 21.5%, the highest it’s been since the Federal Reserve started tracking the data in 1994.

“Overall, the consumer is credit healthy. However, the reality is that there are starting to be some significant signs of stress,” said Silvio Tavares, president and CEO of VantageScore, one of the country’s two major credit scoring systems.

Most analyses of Americans’ financial health tend to tell a tale of two consumers. On one side are the roughly two-thirds of Americans who own their homes and those who’ve invested in the stock market and done substantially well. They generally had the savings cushion necessary to weather high inflation. Delinquency rates on single-family homes remain at near historic lows and home prices have continued to climb.

But for the rest of America, things are looking rough.

“You have these noticeable pockets of consumers — mostly middle- and lower-income renters who have not benefitted from the wealth effect of higher housing prices and stock prices — who are feeling financial stress and that’s driving up these delinquency levels. They’ve been hit very hard by inflation,” said Warren Kornfeld, a senior vice president at Moody’s, in an interview.

Kornfeld, who co-wrote a report last week looking at the climbing levels of delinquencies, expects them to keep climbing this year.

Consumers’ financial health could play a big role in the 2024 election. President Joe Biden is running in part on his efforts to bring down costs for U.S. families. Republicans counter that Biden is to blame for higher costs in the first place.

One way to gauge this bifurcation of the American economy is by looking at the results of some major credit card companies. The customers of Capital One, Discover Financial and Synchrony have historically been those with lower credit scores, while American Express typically serves the wealthiest and well-to-do.

At Synchrony Bank, the largest issuer of retail co-brand credit cards, the charge-off rate jumped from 3.5% to 5.6% in a year. Meanwhile, roughly 4.7% of Synchrony customers are 30 days or more behind on their bills, which is also up from a year ago.

Discover’s customers are carrying $102 billion in balances on their credit cards, up 13% from a year earlier. Meanwhile, the charge-off rates and 30-day delinquency rates have climbed. Executives say they can see the impact of inflation.

“Think about a consumer that makes $50,000 a year,” said John Green, Discover’s chief financial officer, at an investor conference in December. “When inflation outpaces your wage growth, they’re making choices in terms of what they’re going to spend, what bill they’re going to pay and what they’re going to frankly put on their table.”

Inflation peaked at 9.1% in June 2022 and is now slightly above 3%. But the costs of many goods and services remains elevated. A loaf of bread that cost $1.54 in December 2020 cost $2.02 at the end of last year, and a gallon of gas has risen from an average of $2.17 to $3.29 in the same timeframe, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Renters in particular have felt the pinch. The median rent for a property with up to two bedrooms has jumped from $1,424 at the end of 2020 to $1,713 at the end of last year, according to realtor.com.

VantageScore’s Tavares worries that the recent reintroduction of student loan payments could more acutely impact these customers in their ability to repay their debts.

“Folks are scrambling to pay these obligations that they haven’t had to pay in three years, and it’s hitting exactly the demographic we are talking about here: the younger folk, less affluent folk,” Tavares said.

American Express has also seen its charge-offs and delinquencies climb in the past year, but not as much as its competitors. Historically, AmEx has catered to customers with higher credit scores who pay off their cards at the end of each month. But even AmEx customers are now carrying a balance more regularly. AmEx’s net charge-off rate last quarter was 2%, up from 1.2% a year earlier.

In the middle of the spectrum are JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, two gigantic banks with large portfolios of customers. Their credit metrics have ticked up only modestly, likely because the banks’ clients run the gamut of income levels and credit scores. But both banks have been setting more money aside to cover potential loan losses, mostly due to their credit card portfolios.

It’s unlikely that Americans will see any relief from the banks or interest rates any time soon that would allow them to refinance these high interest debts. The Federal Reserve signaled Wednesday that its first interest rate cut is likely months away. Further, credit card interest rates tend to be extremely high compared to what the Fed charges for loans.

Further, reports on bank industry sentiment show that banks are being more conservative in giving out loans, which means it will be less likely that these Americans will be able to refinance their high credit card bills into lower interest loans.

Economists at the moment feel the financial strain felt by these lower income Americans is not likely to spill over broadly into the broader economy, at least at the moment. But economists and experts see these rising delinquencies as one of the growing risks to the economy this year, especially if student loans become too much for younger, debt-burdened Americans to handle.

“Rising delinquencies, while they do require monitoring, are not quite sounding alarm bells,” TD Economics’ McLeod wrote in their report.

Tesla recalling nearly ever vehicle sold in US to fix warning lights

DETROIT (AP) — Tesla is recalling nearly all of the vehicles it has sold in the U.S. because some warning lights on the instrument panel are too small.

The recall of nearly 2.2 million vehicles announced Friday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is a sign of stepped-up scrutiny of the electric vehicle maker. The agency also said it has upgraded a 2023 investigation into Tesla steering problems to an engineering analysis, a step closer to a recall.

Documents posted Friday by the agency say the warning light recall will be done with an online software update. It covers the 2012 through 2023 Model S, the 2016 through 2023 Model X, the 2017 through 2023 Model 3, the 2019 through 2024 Model Y and the 2024 Cybertruck.

The agency says that the brake, park and antilock brake warning lights have a smaller font size than required by federal safety standards. That can make critical safety information hard to read, increasing the risk of a crash.

Tesla has already started releasing the software update, and owners will be notified by letter starting March 30.

NHTSA says it found the problem in a routine safety compliance audit on Jan. 8.

Tesla has identified three warranty claims potentially related to the problem, but has no reports of crashes or injuries.

Shares of Tesla Inc., which have been in a downward trend since July and slumped after the company’s fourth quarter earnings report last week, fell another 2.7% in early trading Friday to levels not seen since May of last year.

In December, NHTSA pressured Tesla into recalling more than 2 million vehicles to update software and fix a defective system that’s supposed to ensure drivers are paying attention when using Autopilot.

Documents said the update will increase warnings and alerts to drivers.

The recall came after a two-year investigation by NHTSA into a series of crashes that happened while the Autopilot partially automated driving system was in use. Some were deadly.

The agency says its investigation found Autopilot’s method of making sure that drivers are paying attention can be inadequate and can lead to “foreseeable misuse of the system.”

The added controls and alerts will “further encourage the driver to adhere to their continuous driving responsibility,” the documents said.

But safety experts said that, while the recall is a good step, it still makes the driver responsible and doesn’t fix the underlying problem that Autopilot isn’t reacting to stopped vehicles. They say that Tesla’s driver monitoring system that relies on detecting hands on the steering wheel doesn’t stop drivers from checking out.

Tesla says on its website that its Autopilot and “Full Self-Driving” systems cannot drive the vehicles, and that human drivers must be ready to intervene at all times.

In February of last year, NHTSA also pressed Tesla to recall nearly 363,000 vehicles with its “Full Self-Driving” system because it can misbehave around intersections and doesn’t always follow speed limits.

The recall was part of part of a larger investigation into Tesla’s automated driving systems.

It raised questions about CEO Elon Musk’s claims that he can prove to regulators that cars equipped with “Full Self-Driving” are safer than humans, and that humans almost never have to touch the controls.

Musk at one point had promised that a fleet of autonomous robotaxis would be in use in 2020. The latest action appears to push that development further into the future.

In addition, Tesla is recalling more than 1.6 million Model S, X, 3 and Y electric vehicles exported to China for problems with their automatic assisted steering and door latch controls.

China’s State Administration for Market Regulation announced the recall in early January. It said Tesla Motors in Beijing and Shanghai would use remote upgrades to fix the problems.

The recall is due to problems with the automatic steering assist function and applies to 1.6 million imported Tesla Model S, Model X, Model 3 and Model Ys.

When the automatic steering function is engaged, drivers might misuse the combined driving function, increasing a risk of accidents, the notice said.

The recall to fix the door unlock logic control for imported Model S and Model X EVs affects 7,538 vehicles made between Oct. 26, 2022 and Nov. 16, 2023. It is needed to prevent door latches from coming open during a collision.

Tesla was the top seller of electric vehicles in the world last year, but China’s BYD beat the company in the fourth quarter. BYD is the leader in the booming China market.

The steering investigation upgrade, also announced Friday in documents, covers more than 334,000 Tesla vehicles.

The probe was opened in July of last year after the agency received a dozen complaints about loss of steering control in 2023 Model Y and 3 vehicles. Now the agency says it has 115 complaints, and it received another 2,176 after requesting information from the company.

Agency documents say drivers are reporting loss of steering control, often accompanied by messages showing that power assisted steering has been reduced or disabled. Some complained of an inability to turn the steering wheel, while others said it required more effort.

A message was left Friday seeking comment from Tesla.

In one case a driver told NHTSA that they couldn’t complete a right turn and ran into another vehicle.

The agency said there have been multiple allegations of Teslas blocking intersections or roadways. Over 50 vehicles had to be towed, according to the consumer complaints.

Many of the complaints reported the problem happened between 5 mph and 35 mph. The highest reported speed that alleged an inability to turn was 75 mph, the documents said.

The agency said it is looking into possible steering rack failures.

▶️ Hiring a contractor after winter storms? Make sure they’re licensed

After the recent freezing rain and snow, you may be looking for a contractor to repair damage around your property. Just make sure it’s a reputable one.

The Oregon Construction Contractors Board (CCB) and Landscape Contractors Board (LCB) are reminding the public to make sure to hire licensed contractors. That can save you from common scams.

How can you tell it might be a scam?

  • The contractor solicits door-to-door and pressures you to act now
  • The work requires a large up-front deposit or all money up front
  • The offer sounds too good to be true

To verify a CCB license:

  • Visit www.oregon.gov/ccb
  • Enter the license number or name in the orange “Search” feature.
  • Verify that the license is “active,” that the contractor carries the endorsement for residential work, and that the name and other information on the license matches the contractor you are considering. 
  • Call 503-378-4621 for help searching or understanding the results.

RELATED: Sisters Library closes after water leak due to apparent pipe burst

Contractors and consumers can report unlicensed contractors and other illegal activity on the CCB’s website or by calling 503-934-2246.

To verify an LCB license: 

  • Visit [www.oregon.gov/lcb]www.oregon.gov/lcb and click “Verify a License”
  • Enter the contractor’s license number or name in the “search” box.
  • Verify that the license is active.
  • Call 503-967-6291 if you need help verifying an LCB license.

The boards suggest getting references from friends, neighbors or others in the construction industry, such as supply stores.

Contractors who look for work online are required to include their CCB or LCB number when advertising. Despite this, the CCB and LCB are advising customers to not rely just on online references.