Where Disaster Strikes, Scammers Follow

Where Disaster Strikes, Scammers Follow

Wildfires, tornadoes, floods, storms and other disasters often result in a flurry of activities by scam artists. Fraudsters prey on our emotional state and our good intentions in an effort to steal our money.

Beware of these disaster-related scams:

Fake Charities: watch out for door-to-door solicitors or phone calls asking you to donate to the victims of a disaster. You should contribute only to charities that have a proven record of providing effective disaster relief, and you should only participate in fundraising efforts undertaken by individuals you know and trust. Always check out a charity through a third party prior to giving, and never give your personal or financial information to anyone who calls unsolicited.

Insurance Fraud: be wary of excessive fees from adjusters and be sure to check out any contractor you’re referred to by an adjuster to ensure it is a reputable company. Many insurance companies employ their own adjusters to evaluate property damage, so work directly with your insurance company when filing your claim.

Home Repair Scams: these scammers come into your neighborhood wielding high-pressure sales tactics and making offers that seem too good to be true. If your home needs repairs, get recommendations from friends, neighbors or another trusted source, and then check out the company through a third-party organization, like the Better Business Bureau. Asking for a written contract is a good idea, but be
sure to read and understand the fine print before signing.

If you recognize any red flags related to these scams, please report them to AARP ElderWatch.