During a time of incredible stress, there are some who may see an opportunity to prey on those whose defenses are down. Cleaning up in the aftermath of a catastrophic tornado would qualify as one of those times.

With that in mind, Kentucky State Police are passing along information they've received from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, an agency clearly taking a proactive approach to a potential issue thousands of Kentuckians could face. But we certainly hope they don't. The NICB wants to make sure those dealing with recovery efforts following the tornado are dealing with legitimate contractors.

They've offered a list of ways home and business owners can avoid falling victim to fraud.

1. Always get multiple estimates and never hire a specific contractor IF pressure is brought to bear.
2. You should only work with contractors that are licensed and insured.
3. It's always vitally important to demand and check references.
4. Before you begin any transaction, ask to see the salesperson's driver's license. Then write down THAT number AND the vehicle's license plate
number.
5. As with any type of transaction, get a contract in writing--including cost, time and payment schedules, guarantees, the work that needs to be
done, and any other necessary expectations that must be detailed.
6. Don't sign a contract that has blanks on it. These could be filled in later and you wouldn't know anything about it. It's like a blank check.
7. Finally, do not pay a contractor or sign a completion certificate until the work is completed and the reconstruction is up to current code.

There are so many people dealing with an inordinate amount of anxiety and heartache right now--the kinds of things that make and KEEP folks distracted. And of course, that would leave them vulnerable and at risk.

A big THANK YOU to the Kentucky State Police for passing this along AND to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Dramatic Drone Footage Captures Tornado Aftermath in Bremen & Dawson Springs, Kentucky

Local Tri-State tornado chaser Christopher Conley captures heartbreaking and gut-wrenching photos from his drone. Photos reflect devastation in both Bremen, KY, and Dawson Springs, KY. We in this area are so thankful for Chris as he ensures community members remain safe during the storms.

KEEP READING: What to do after a tornado strikes

LOOK: The most expensive weather and climate disasters in recent decades

Stacker ranked the most expensive climate disasters by the billions since 1980 by the total cost of all damages, adjusted for inflation, based on 2021 data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The list starts with Hurricane Sally, which caused $7.3 billion in damages in 2020, and ends with a devastating 2005 hurricane that caused $170 billion in damage and killed at least 1,833 people. Keep reading to discover the 50 of the most expensive climate disasters in recent decades in the U.S.