Unfortunately, natural disasters often lead to an uptick in fraud, and Hurricane Ian has been no exception. These scams run the gamut of insurance to charities and can occur through multiple forms of communication including texting, calling, and even going door to door. With thousands of Floridians currently displaced by the hurricane, it is important to remain vigilant of the rising number of scams. Below are some of the known scams and how to protect yourself from becoming a victim.
Never give out personal information to someone claiming to be with an insurance company. In fact, if someone calls claiming to represent the company, it is best to call your agent or company directly to verify. If someone calls claiming to be a contractor assigned by your insurance company, again verify with your insurance company and do not give out any personal information or information regarding your claims or policies. You can also verify online if a contractor is licensed and insured.
There are a number of websites through which you can verify a nonprofit’s authenticity, such as Charity Navigator (link: https://marketing.gehringgroup.com/e/932633/2022-10-10/2cllg/110348353?h=e9BR6zztC7dfpAmGxXu_b_nFS1A8DU8-F3IapnBPMGQ). When giving monetary donations through crowd-funding websites, be sure to verify all information.
You may receive a visit or phone call from someone claiming to be a government official or insurance company representative promising that disaster assistance is forthcoming. Do not give out any bank account information. If a government official comes to your door they will always have identification and will never ask for or accept cash.
Never click a link in an unsolicited email or text message related to the storm – you could be opening yourself up to a potential cyber attack.
Beware of individuals overcharging for goods and services needed by victims of the disaster. Price gouging can be reported to the Florida Attorney General’s Office by downloading No Scam, a free app, which enables the user to report suspected price gouging with photos, documents, and screen shots. Price gouging can also be reported online at www.myfloridalegal.com or by calling 1-866-9NO-SCAM (966-7226).
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