As residents in Tennessee and other southern states begin to assess the damage caused by deadly tornados and severe weather over the weekend, we know the question is not if but when scammers will show up. Whether you’re a homeowner, a tenant, or a business, scammers will try to take advantage while you’re focused on cleaning up and fixing the damage.
If you’re dealing with damage, here’s some quick advice to help you and others in your community avoid scams after a disaster:
- Be skeptical of anyone promising immediate clean-up or repairs. Scammers typically demand you pay upfront, but then won’t finish the work, or lack the skills to complete it. Don’t hire them if they refuse to give you copies of their license and insurance, and a contract in writing.
- Spot rental listing scams if you’re looking for a place to rent during recovery. Scammers often advertise rentals that don’t exist to trick people into sending money before they find out the truth.
- Know that FEMA and the Small Business Administration don’t charge application fees. If someone wants money to help you qualify for FEMA funds or government grants, it’s a scam.
The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.
- We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
- We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
- We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
- We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
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