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

    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: , , , , , , tornadoes   

    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: , , , , , , tornadoes   

    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.

     
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