On the anniversary of September 11th, it is wise to remember everyone we have lost … and to remain vigilant of scammers who try to profit from such tragedies. Here is some advice from the Federal Trade Commission.
Whether you’re preparing for the aftermath of the Gulf Coast storms, Laura and Marco tackling the ravages of the wildfires in the west, recovering from the Derecho in the Midwest, or facing another natural disaster, the aftermath is never easy. But when scammers target people who are just trying to recover, it can be worse.
The following tips can help you avoid common post-disaster fraud.
- Be skeptical of anyone who makes instant promises Cleaning and dirt removal. Some may quote outrageous prices, ask for upfront payments, or lack the skills required.
- Look at her. Before paying, ask for ID, licenses and proof of insurance. Do not believe any promises that are not in writing.
- Never pay with Bank transfer, gift card or cash. And never make the final payment until the job is done done and you are satisfied
- Protect your personal information. Only scammers say they are civil servants and then ask for money or your credit card, bank account or social security number.
- Know that FEMA does not charge any filing fees. If someone wants money to qualify for FEMA funds, it is likely a scam.
- Be assigned Rental entry fraud. Avoid people asking you to transfer money or ask for a deposit or rent before you̵
- Detect disaster fraud related to disaster. Fraudsters often try to quickly capitalize on the misfortunes of others. Read the FTC’s advice on how to donate wisely and avoid charity fraud.
Colleen Tressler is one Consumer Education Specialist with the Federal Trade Commission.
Photo by John Middelkoop on Unsplash