FTC: How to Identify, Report Post-Disaster Scammers Targeting Consumers Trying to Recover
By Space Coast Daily // September 9, 2021
FEMA doesn’t charge for application fees
(FTC) – Whether you’re starting to assess the damage from Hurricane Ida, the recent flooding in Tennessee, the wildfires in the West, or another natural disaster, coping with the aftermath is never easy.
But when scammers target people just trying to recover, it can be even worse. Here are ways to help you avoid common post-disaster scams.
■ Be skeptical of anyone promising immediate clean-up and debris removal. Some may quote outrageous prices, demand payment up-front, or lack the skills needed.
■ Check them out. Before you pay, ask for IDs, licenses, and proof of insurance. Don’t believe any promises that aren’t in writing.
■ Never pay by wire transfer, gift card, cryptocurrency, or cash. And never make the final payment until the work is done and you’re satisfied.
Guard your personal information. Only scammers will say they’re a government official and then demand money or your credit card, bank account, or Social Security number.
Know that FEMA doesn’t charge application fees. If someone wants money to help you qualify for FEMA funds, that’s probably a scam.
Be wise to rental listing scams.
Steer clear of people who tell you to wire money or ask for security deposits or rent before you’ve met or signed a lease.
Spot disaster-related charity scams.
Scammers will often try to make a quick profit from the misfortune of others. Check out the FTC’s advice on donating wisely and avoiding charity scams.
Bookmark Dealing with Weather Emergencies. If a weather event or disaster affects you, come back for more tips on recovery and information about your rights.
Like all our materials, the site is mobile-friendly, so you’ll have ready access to information when and where you need it.
Suspect a scam? Report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Want information on the latest frauds and scams we’re seeing? Sign up for our consumer alerts.
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