The recovery and clean up efforts are just getting started for the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Sally. When natural disasters happen like hurricanes you can bet scammers are headed to the are to take advantage. Here are some tale tale signs you're being scammed
Roof Repair Scammers
(information from BBB)
- Free inspections. Professional roofers sometimes charge for this service, but not all do. Beware: storm chasers have been caught damaging roofs in order to provide homeowners “evidence” that hail or wind damaged their house.
- People who say your insurance company sent them. The insurance company did not send them. Your insurance company will tell you before they send someone to your house. If you’re unsure whether they’re telling the truth, call your insurance agent to inquire.
- People who call on the phone and claim to represent your insurance company. Do not pass out your personal information. Your insurance company already has it on file.
- Requests for advance payment. Initial deposit are not unheard of however, the bulk of the payment should come after the roofer has finished the job.
- Claims that FEMA endorses them. FEMA does not endorse contractors.
- High pressure sales tactics.
- They pass out pamphlets, cards, and flyers throughout your neighborhood.
- They offer a free roof or free deductible. Do not go along with this. This is insurance fraud.
Disaster Relief Charity Scams
Consumers should also be aware of scammers posing as representatives of charities seeking donations for disaster relief. There are several steps you can take to protect yourself from this type of fraud:
- Donate to trusted, well-known charities.Beware of scammers who create fake charities during natural disasters. Always verify a charity's legitimacy through its official website. If you have doubts, you can check withBetter Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance,Charity Navigator,Charity Watch, orGuideStar. You can also check with theNational Association of State Charity Officialswhether charities must be registered in your state and if the charity contacting you is on file with your state.
- Verify all phone numbers for charities.If you need to contact a charity by phone, check the charity's official website to see if the number you have is legitimate. If you're using text-to-donate, check with the charity to ensure the number is legitimate before donating.
- Do not open suspicious emails.If you receive a suspicious email requesting donations or other assistance, donotclick on any links or open any attachments. Scammers regularly use email for phishing attacks and to spread malware.
- Verify information in social media posts.Double-check any solicitation for charitable donations before you give. Crowd-funding websites often host individual requests for help but theyare not always vettedby the site or other sources.