Tips to Avoid Scams after Disaster

Planning & Saving
on November 12, 2012

Going through a disaster can be a very traumatic and stressful experience. Unfortunately, some dishonest people might try to take advantage of your vulnerability after this horrifying event; therefore, it is important to be on the look out for scams. Here are a few tips to avoid scams after a disaster.

After a disaster, it is important to protect your identity because identity theft is common. Do not give your social security number or credit card number to someone over the phone. Your insurance company will not call you and ask for this information; therefore, if someone calls claiming to be your insurance company, you need to call the company to tell them what has happened.

If you need to hire a roofer or builder, do not sign any agreement unless you have considered multiple contractors. Be suspicious of businesses who want you to spend a lot of money for jobs that are temporary. Temporary repairs can usually be expensive to make. Before you hire a roofer, contact the Better Business Bureau. You can also ask for references, and find someone who has a good reputation. Never give a contractor a large down payment because they might take your money and run.

You should never sign anything without reading over it carefully. If there is anything you do not understand, ask for details. You need to obtain quotes from multiple companies. You need to compare prices, rates and types of repayment plans available. Do not hire a person who comes knocking on your door without doing some research. It is important to get everything in writing, and make sure the agreement contains a detailed description of the work that will be done.

If your property is damaged, you need to call your insurance company first. The company will send a claim adjuster. Make sure you check his driver’s license, so he can prove his identity. If you see someone suspicious around your neighborhood, notify the police.

You should not open any emails or attachment unless you know the sender. Some files claiming to show pictures of the disaster region are viruses. In addition, if you are making a financial contribution to a charity, make sure you give the money straight to a well-known organization. Make your check payable to the charity, not to a specific person.

It is inconceivable to think that anyone would try to take advantage of you during one of the worst times in your life. They try to make money being dishonest. If tragedy should strike, be very careful of suspicious individuals. You should take the proper steps to avoid scams, and you can start rebuilding your life.

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