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CLAY COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) — The Clay County Sheriff’s Department could soon have a new tool to help residents avoid scam artists or at least track them down.

Sheriff Eddie Scott wants supervisors to adopt a law requiring out-of-state and possibly out-of-county vendors to register with the county tax assessor’s office when operating in the county. That would give deputies the right to stop suspect vendors and check their credentials.

The idea is to be able to catch the growing number of scam artists offering everything from paving deals to roofing specials.

“We see them all the time.The problem we’ve been having is when you have contractors come in from out of state a lot of times we have run into some scams on senior citizens,” Scott told supervisors. “This has been going on for several years. The problem that we get into is these companies come in here and the homeowner doesn’t get any kind of identification on them. Once they collect the money they’re gone, and there’s not enough information to pursue a criminal or civil charge.

“These folks are gone, we don’t know who they are and have no way of tracking them,” he continued. “We’re trying to come up with a a way to protect our citizens.”

Scott says the rules also will protect local businesses.

A draft of the ordinance could come back before supervisors within a month.

West Point also is considering a crackdown on transient vendors, especially those who set up shop along local roadways without getting a local business license or paying local taxes while taking customers away from local businesses.

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