COLUMBIA, Mo. -

The Attorney General's office is suing sixteen contractors for allegedly scamming hundreds of Missouri consumers out of $360,000.

In Columbia, one contractor, who is nowhere to be found, scammed people out of $21,000 back in September 2013.

The Attorney General's office said Corey Smith was doing business under the name, Switzer Construction.

He was once licensed with the Better Business Bureau, but has now been revoked.

Mike Harrison with the BBB said, "There are sometimes when you can do all the homework in the world and feel like you're working with a reputable company and sometime things just change."

Harrison said there are three things to do as a consumer to avoid scams.

First, he recommends to ask for a contractors insurance.

Second, NEVER pay any money upfront.

Lastly, if the company offers deals that sound too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.

Harrison said the BBB provides information for consumers needing reviews, as well as if a company is legitimate.

"They can always visit the BBB's website and on our website they can get a free business review that gives them information that they can make a decision on who they want to use," said Harrison.

He also recommends paying for services in thirds.

Pay one third up front, halfway through the work pay another third and finally when all the work is completed pay the last portion.

The two businesses that the AG's office is suing in Cole County are J&N Construction, scamming almost $16,000, as well as St. Clair Windows and Doors taking $9,000 from consumers.