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  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 5, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , insurance, , ,   

    State warns of storm scams 

    By Greg Collier

    Recently, the Wichita-area of Kansas experienced severe weather, which resulted in at least one tornado that tore through the town of Andover. The EF-3 tornado was only on the ground for 21 minutes, more than 1,000 buildings were destroyed in the 13 miles the tornado traveled. As with any natural disaster, scammers will start popping out of the woodwork looking to take advantage of storm victims. In an attempt to get ahead of the scammers, the Kansas Attorney General’s Office issued a warning to residents of the Sunflower State.

    Even though the warnings issued are relevant to Kansas residents right now, every state has its fair share of natural disasters. Whether it’s flooding, wildfires, hurricanes, earthquakes, or what have you, scammers will descend on that area like a plague. So what’s pertinent to Kansas today could be pertinent to your area tomorrow.

    The most common scam after disasters like this are from shady contractors. These phony contractors travel from storm to storm, looking for victims. They’ll claim to be licensed, but they may not be licensed in your state. You should only deal with contractors that are licensed in your state. Another good way to avoid this scam is to get estimates from a few contractors. Also, you should never pay in advance as that could be an indication of a scam.

    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 9:00 am on December 15, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , insurance, , ,   

    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 8:00 am on September 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , insurance, ,   

    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 8:00 am on October 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , insurance, ,   

    Be careful of random packages at your doorstep 

    Be careful of random packages at your doorstep

    Today, we’re bringing you a handful of scams from around the country. Remember, just because they may not be happening in your town doesn’t mean they can’t.

    Our first story is out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where unrequested packages have been showing up at random homes. Scammers are allegedly using stolen information to have high-end items like smartphones sent to random houses. The scammers then keep an eye on the homes where the items are to be delivered so they can pick them up. While this was a good attempt by the scammers to cover their tracks, two men have been arrested for their alleged part in the scheme. A good way to help protect yourself against this is to sign up for the US Postal Service’s Informed Delivery service.

    Speaking of unwanted packages, we’ve discussed the brushing scam before. It’s where you’ll receive a number of packages from a retailer like Amazon that you didn’t order. By law, you can keep those packages, however, they’re being sent by third-party vendors from overseas who are looking to use your information to post positive reviews of their products with your name listed as a verified purchaser. It’s gotten so bad for one man in Charlotte, North Carolinas that he says he’s been receiving nearly 30 packages a week since July. If this happens to you, your amazon account may have been compromised. It’s recommended that in this case that you change your Amazon password and check your account for illegitimate purchases.

    Lastly, the state of Texas is warning its residents about a potential insurance scam. The Texas Department of Insurance is reporting that a group claiming to be the Consumer Insurance Association is offering discounted insurance rates over the phone. This group is not licensed in the state of Texas and could be part of an identity theft operation. Never just give out your personal information over the phone to anybody who cold calls you. If you feel like they may be a legitimate company, research them first before divulging any sensitive information.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Expedia, , insurance, , , ,   

    Scam strikes vacation sites! 

    Scam strikes vacation sites!

    If you’re still looking to plan your vacation for this summer, you may want to be extra careful who you book your vacation with. The Better Business Bureau has been warning potential vacation-goers to make sure you use the proper travel website when booking travel plans. While most reports we’ve seen have mentioned Expedia, we imagine that this could happen with any well-known travel website. The scam works like a lot of phishing scams by posing as a website that looks identical to sites like Expedia but directs you to call a different number than Expedia’s actual number. The scammers will then tell you that their system is down and can you make payment using a prepaid debit card. That should be your red flag as once payment is transferred from that card the money is gone. Real travel platforms will never ask you to pay by prepaid debit card or gift card.

    Speaking of the BBB, they’re also warning about a scam that’s currently happening in the Pacific Northwest. It appears that a genetic testing scam is happening there now. You may see commercials for services that promise to test your genetics to give you your ethnic makeup. Most of these are established services with decent reputations. However, there are scammers trying to cash in on this craze by coming to your door or setting up shop in senior centers. If you’re asked for any kind of medical insurance information such as your Medicare number it’s a scam. This particular scam is designed just to get your medical carrier information to be able to commit future insurance fraud with your information. This scam also tends to target those who are on Medicare or Medicaid.

    Lastly, we have a scam out of the Midwest where some Sheriffs Offices are warning residents about it. In this scam, you’ll receive a phone call from someone claiming to be a border agent from either the Canadian or Mexican border. These fake agents will say that a rental car registered in your name has been found with drugs in it. They’ll even try to say that your name has been connected with a drug cartel. The scammers will then try to ask you for financial information to try to clear the incident up such as your bank account or credit card numbers. If you receive one of these calls it’s recommended that you hang up immediately.

     
  • Geebo 9:02 am on June 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AAA, insurance,   

    Car insurance for Teslas is about to go through the roof 

    Car insurance for Teslas is about to go through the roof

    So you finally made it to the point in your life where you can purchase a Tesla as your primary vehicle. Good for you. They’re great for the environment and they surpass most, if not all, of the safety standards put forth by the government and consumer groups. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change the fact that you may be paying another arm and a leg for the insurance. AAA has come out and said they are raising the rates for insurance on the Model S and the Model X. So if the cars are so safe why are the rates being raised?

    It comes down to the fact that in this case, Tesla is a victim of their own success. Their manufacturing process is so unique that not only are the parts prohibitively expensive, but so is the cost for specially trained mechanics. You can find many stories on the internet where Tesla owners ended up paying thousands upon thousands of dollars for something as routine as a blown tire. In AAA’s eyes this means even though the safety standard is high for Teslas, the cost of replacement parts is so astronomical it has to raise their rates to properly insure these uncommon vehicles. Other insurance companies are expected to follow.

    Do you think AAA is making a cash grab by raising the rates of one of the safest vehicles of all time, or are they justified due to the costs of parts and labor even for the most minor of items?

     
  • Geebo 10:22 am on May 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , insurance   

    Healthcare coverage that leaves you feeling sick 

    Healthcare coverage that leaves you feeling sick

    The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, was designed to bring affordable healthcare coverage to US citizens who previously couldn’t afford it. Even with Obamacare there are still a vast number of Americans who can’t afford health coverage. Many of those desperate for some kind of coverage may respond to one of the many ads for discount healthcare coverage that they may have found online, on TV, or even on a roadside sign that promises great benefits at a cut-rate price. As is the norm in many of these cases, the promises of great coverage for your family go largely unfulfilled.

    A lot of these healthcare plans aren’t insurance but they’re what’s called discount programs. In some cases these programs make a deal with a local or national PPO network and will allow you to see doctors at the same discounted rate that fully insured people get however the plan doesn’t actually pay any money on your behalf to your doctor. You only get a discount and still have to pay the majority of your bill to the doctor’s office. Many healthcare professionals may be in-network with the PPO plan named on the discount card but a great number of them won’t even accept any patients using only a discount plan. That’s not even mentioning that these discount plans don’t fulfill the Individual Mandate requirements of Obamacare that say those that don’t have sufficient health coverage will be fined by the government.

    Here’s a tip on how not to be fooled by these programs if you’re looking for real healthcare coverage. There’s one word you need to keep an eye out for and that word is ‘insurance’. If the ad does not use the word insurance then it isn’t healthcare coverage that you need. Back in the days when fax machines were more prevalent than the internet these plans would spam fax machines with these same promises but in very small print at the bottom, sometimes blurred out by poor quality faxes, would be a disclaimer that said ‘This is not insurance.’

    While these ads may use words that sound like they may be insurance, unless they use the actual word they’re not.

     
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