Scams to be Aware of After Hurricane Harvey
Even though you and countless others are going through a devastating time, believe it or not, there are still people out there who will take advantage of you right now. Below are the most common scams to watch out for after a natural disaster strikes.
People all over the world are moved when they see images of people suffering and devastated during a disaster and naturally want to help by means of a monetary donation or other means. It is very common for fake websites to pop up, people may go around and take cash donations or start GoFundMe.com pages to pretend as though they will collect money for people they intend to help.
What to look for:
- Beware of unsolicited emails and phone calls
- Do Not give cash donations
- Do Not give personal financial information over the phone unless you initiated the call
- Do your research on the organization
- Check with the Federal Trade Commission, Better Business Bureau, Charity Navigator or Charity Watch to learn about an organization you are interested in donating to
- Donate to well-known organizations with a great track record
Hurricane Harvey has caused a lot of structural and water damage to many businesses and homes. Thousands of people will be displaced and in need of a new place. Scammers know this and will start to take advantage of these folks.
Here are some tips:
- Make sure you have seen the place you are considering in person
- Make sure you have seen the person you are renting from or the realtor in person
- Do not provide any personal or financial information over the phone or internet
- Do some research on the person you are renting from
Roofer, Builder & Contractor Scams
Some people will be in need of home repairs whether major or minor after a big storm. There will be plenty of people taking advantage and have intentions of leaving you still in need of these repairs and with less money to do so.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Get quotes or estimates from several people and collect their contact information
- Use local contractors with good reputations
- Do your research on the track record of these contractors and builders – don’t be afraid to take your time on this step
- Get a recommendation for a contractor
- Check for a license. In Texas, only electricians and plumbers are required to have a license
- Do not pay for the entire cost of the job upfront – the work should be finished first
- Do not pay large amounts of money for a temporary repair – you will run out of money for permanent jobs
- Watch out for “FEMA Endorsements” FEMA does not actually endorse builders and contractors
Insurance Adjustor & Attorney Scams
There will be plenty of insurance claims to be made after a natural disaster such as Harvey. Be careful of those who claim they are here to help you with those claims.
Follow these tips:
- Before hiring your own adjuster or attorney, deal directly with your insurance company. Your insurer provides an adjuster at no cost to you
- Be wary of insurance adjusters and attorneys going door-to-door or trying to rush you into signing a contract
- You can get a public adjuster to represent you and in Texas, you are allowed to request up to three adjusters, if needed, before you accept a settlement
- If you want to hire a third-party contractor, check the track record of this person or get a recommendation from someone you trust
Check the Better Business Bureau to do your research on companies or charities.
As you try to rebuild your home and your life, please keep these tips and advice in mind and take the time you need to recover. Plenty of people have shown the best part of humanity in our area lately, but unfortunately, there are people who will show the worst side. Do not rush the process because it will take some time. You can find professional and home services in TheGreensheet.com Business Directory.
For more information and resources for rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey go to TheGreensheet.com/Harvey
Remember The Greensheet and TheGreensheet.com are resources to help you find the items and companies you need to help rebuild.