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  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 15, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , disaster relief, , , , ,   

    Tornado victims could also be victims of scams 

    Tornado victims could also be victims of scams

    By Greg Collier

    The other day, we discussed how charity scams could follow in the wake of the recent tornadoes that struck the South and Midwest. We’d be remiss if we didn’t also discuss the scams that could be targeting the tornado victims. As is almost always the case, whenever disaster strikes, scammers are sure to follow. It doesn’t matter how extensive the damage or loss of life is, scammers have no qualms about preying on those who’ve already lost everything. Once again, the State of Kentucky has issued a warning to its residents about these potential scams. While you may not currently live in a disaster area, having these tips will leave you better prepared in case you are.

    Disasters like this, and others, will always bring in the shady contractors. They usually come from out of state and approach the property unsolicited. Scammers will ask you to pay in full upfront. Legitimate contractors will have licenses that you can ask to see along with their proof of insurance. Scammers will take your money and do little if any work repairing your home. The State of Kentucky has also warned its residents to be wary of any contractor who claims to be FEMA certified or FEMA referred them to you. FEMA offers no such certification or service.

    Speaking of FEMA, another popular disaster scam is when scammers pose as FEMA but claim they need a payment in order to offer you any kind of disaster relief. This is known as the advance fee scam. FEMA impersonators may also try to steal your identity by asking for personal information.

    The same goes for phone scammers who may try to impersonate your home insurance company. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from your insurance company, don’t give them any personal information. Instead, you should hang up and either call your local agent or the customer service phone number listed on your policy.

    You can find more tips on how to avoid these scams at this link.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , disaster relief, , , ,   

    How to donate safely to tornado victims 

    How to donate safely to tornado victims

    By Greg Collier

    We’re sure you’ve heard the news that over the weekend, at least 50 tornadoes touched down in eight states in the South and the Midwest. The state of Kentucky was said to have received the brunt of the storms and the most damage. While we have to yet see any reports of it yet, it’s almost guaranteed that charity scams will follow in the wake of the tornadoes’ devastation. Scammers have long used tragedies, both natural and man made, to try and take money that could be better used providing relief to the victims.

    The State of Kentucky is trying to get ahead of these scams by letting donators know that the state has set up an official relief fund website where anyone can donate money to assist the victims in Kentucky. Fundraising platform GoFundMe has also set up a portal to help guide contributors to legitimate fundraising channels to help the victims in not only Kentucky, but the other state’s as well. And you can always donate money or blood to the Red Cross.

    People looking to donate to a relief fund should be wary of phone or email solicitors that come from generic sounding entities like ‘Disaster Relief Fund’. If a charity appears to be trying to pressure you into making a donation either over the phone or online, there’s a good chance that they’re scammers.

    If you’d prefer not to donate to any of the charities listed above, you can always check the legitimacy of a charity by going to websites like Charity Navigator and Give.org that can let you know which charities are legitimate and which ones aren’t. You can also check with the IRS to see if a charity is registered with them, which goes a long way in showing the charity’s legitimacy.

    The following video is from the 2011 Joplin, Missouri, tornado disaster, but the tips remain just as relevant.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 19, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , disaster relief, earthquake, haiti, ,   

    Warning issued over disaster relief scams 

    Warning issued over disaster relief scams

    By Greg Collier

    If you’ve been following the news recently, you might have heard about the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck the Caribbean nation of Haiti. The earthquake left close to 2,000 victims dead, with thousands more displaced. And this was after the devastating effects of Tropical Storm Grace. You might be moved to make a charitable donation to help the disaster relief, but as usual, scammers are looking to take advantage of the plight of the Haitians for their own personal gain. So, you can’t just donate to any charity that comes along claiming to help the Haiti disaster.

    The Florida Attorney General’s office has issued a warning about charity scams related to the earthquake. While the scams haven’t appeared yet, the Florida Attorney General expects them to descend on Florida due to their large Haitian population. However, it will probably also start spreading outside of the Sunshine State.

    You should avoid donating to any charity that has a vague name like ‘Disaster Relief Fund’. Charities that solicit you out of the blue by using robocalls or mass emails could be suspect as well.

    If you want to make a meaningful donation, there are ways to check to make sure the charity you’re donating to is legitimate. For example, there are websites like Charity Navigator and Give.org that can let you which charities are for real and which ones aren’t. You can also check to see if a charity is registered with the IRS.

    As with most scams, if you’re contacted out of the blue, do not give any personal or financial information to whoever is contacting you. Also, be careful of any crowdfunding campaign that is being run by anonymous or unknown individuals.

    The people of Haiti deserve our help, and your contribution shouldn’t go into the pockets of a scammer.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , disaster relief, , ,   

    Scams are their own form of disaster 

    Scams are their own form of disaster

    Along with the ‘usual’ chaos of 2020, the country is now finding itself in a midst of natural disasters. Between the fires in the West and the hurricanes in the South, the country could be potentially be facing more humanitarian crises than we already are. Of course, wherever there’s a crisis, scammers are sure to follow and today’s disasters are no exception.

    The most common scam that turns up after a natural disaster is the cleanup or repairs at a discounted price. Scammers will ask you to pay in full upfront. Legitimate contractors will have licenses that you can ask to see along with their proof of insurance. In the case of scammers, they will just take your money upfront and do very little work if they do any at all.

    Another disaster-related scam is when scammers offer to assist you in qualifying for FEMA relief assistance. FEMA does not charge any kind of application fee. So if someone claiming to be from FEMA asks you for money, they’re more than likely a fraud.

    This can go for scammers posing as your insurance company as well. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from your insurance company, don’t give them any personal information. Instead, you should hang up and either call your local agent or the customer service phone number listed on your policy.

    For those of you living outside of disaster areas, you still have to be wary of scams as well. While you may have a charitable streak, be careful of donating to any random charity claiming to be for disaster relief. Real charities will never ask you to donate through gift cards, money orders, or wire transfers. Scammers will also try to pressure you into making a donation as quickly as possible.

     
  • Geebo 8:58 am on September 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: disaster relief, ,   

    Disaster relief jobs may be a scam 

    Disaster relief jobs may be a scam

    A few days ago, we told you about some scams to avoid in the wake of Hurricane Harvey which has devastated the city of Houston. It’s come to our attention we missed one scam that could also have calamitous effects on people. On certain websites, there have been postings for disaster relief job that may not be legitimate jobs.

    This is reminiscent of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill from 2010 where fake jobs were being offered to help clean up the coastal Gulf region. It’s just a different twist on the usual job scam where the ad poster will ask you for money for either training or a background check for a job that doesn’t exist. No legitimate employer will ask you for money in advance.

    In order to protect yourself, make sure that any disaster relief work has either a contracted company behind. You should be able to check through the Better Business Bureau or the state government to see who has legitimate job offers for hurricane clean up.

     
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