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Avoid storm-related scams this hurricane season

Hurricane-related threats come not simply from the storms themselves but additionally from scammers who use these climate emergencies to cheat individuals, federal and state officers warn.

MORE: News4JAX Hurricane Section | Plan and Prepare | Generator Safety | 2022 Hurricane Survival Guide

According to the Federal Trade Commission, a few of the commonest weather-related frauds and scams embrace:

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried expanded on these matters, providing these anti-fraud tips:

Clean-up and restore scams: After disasters, unlicensed contractors and scammers might seem with guarantees of fast repairs, clean-up, and particles elimination. Some might demand upfront cost and never do the work, declare you’ll get a reduction however quote outrageous costs, or lack wanted expertise. Before you do enterprise with any firm offering these companies:

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  • Do your analysis: Ask for IDs, licenses, proof of insurance coverage, and references. See if native contact data is on their vans. Check with FDACS’ Division of Consumer Services for complaints.

  • Get one other estimate: Check if different corporations providing related companies are offering quotes with comparable costs.

  • Review contracts fastidiously: Ensure all guarantees an organization makes are in writing and that you simply perceive what you’re signing.

  • Never use money: Always pay with a test or a bank card and by no means make the ultimate cost till the work is full.

Imposter Scams: Imposter scams are available many sorts however usually work the identical approach, a scammer pretends to be somebody you belief and tries to persuade you to ship them cash or private data:

  • Posing as authorities: Some scammers fake to be authorities officers, inspectors, or utility staff who say instant work is required. Always ask to see an ID. If anybody asks you for cost or your monetary data, it’s a rip-off.

  • No charges: Note that FEMA doesn’t cost software charges. If somebody desires cash that can assist you qualify for FEMA funds, it could be a rip-off.

Job Scams: Scammers usually advertise in the identical locations as actual employers and job placement companies, however they lie about your probabilities of getting a job and sometimes ask you to pay earlier than you get one — which is a positive signal of a rip-off. Authentic sources to find job alternatives after a disaster:

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  • CareerOneStop: Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, CareerOneStop lists lots of of hundreds of jobs.
  • Colleges: College profession service workplaces have useful sources. If you’re not a present or former pupil, some colleges should allow you to entry their job itemizing sources.

Rental Listing Scams: If you’re looking for a place to live, keep away from anybody asking you to wire cash or who asks for safety deposits or hire earlier than you’ve met or signed a lease.

  • False itemizing: Some scammers hijack an actual itemizing by altering the e-mail deal with or different contact data and posting a modified advert. Try googling some the data in an inventory to see the place else it’s posted and if the contact data is identical.

  • Verify addresses: Other scammers create listings for locations that aren’t for hire or don’t even exist. Try looking the deal with and make contact with data supplied to confirm it’s legit.

Fried additionally added another matter:

Disaster Charity Scams: Scammers will usually attempt to reap the benefits of the misfortune of others, together with when disasters strike. Review FDACS client tips on donating wisely and avoiding charity scams.

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What ought to shoppers do?

  • File a client criticism: To file a criticism, full our online form or name 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832) en Español.
  • Share your story: Share your story with family and friends or on social media to assist others keep away from falling sufferer.

  • Review our client sources: Consumers can discover useful tips and recourse on our web site: FloridaConsumerHelp.com.

The FTC’s website, Dealing with Weather Emergencies, has sensible concepts that can assist you prepare for, take care of, and get better from a climate emergency. It additionally has recommendation on methods to acknowledge, keep away from, and report frauds and scams.

Like all of the FTC’s supplies, the positioning is mobile-friendly, providing you with prepared entry to data when and the place you want it. Check out the positioning’s 4 sections:

And don’t neglect to join consumer alerts to get the newest data on frauds and scams.

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