Residents of Louisiana and those across the panhandle are well-versed on the topic of hurricanes and tropical storms. Some of these natural events are minor, while others fit the description of a natural disaster. Hurricane Katrina ravaged many areas of New Orleans in 2005, as did Hurricane Gustav in 2008. When these storms hit, they leave immense damage, and something else sinister, in their wake: scam artists.

While citizens are mourning over the loss of their homes, their livelihoods, and sometimes even their family members, criminals seeth to take advantage of people’s desperation. If you’re trying to get back on your feet and repair your home after a natural disaster, expect that someone will try to deceive you with any of the following post-storm scams.

Insurance scams

Fly-by-night contractors travel the country in search of the next disaster. These men and women are charming and persuasive. They will prey on your vulnerabilities by telling you that they can get to work immediately by saying they can waive insurance deductibles. They will offer discounted rates so low it will be hard to believe – and resist.

Once you agree, these faulty contractors will ask you to sign a document that allows them to communicate with your insurer. By signing the paper, you’ve essentially given the scammer free money. They will collect the insurance payouts and split.

FEMA Scams

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) dedicates itself to helping supply necessary funds and supplies to help clean up disaster-ravaged communities. The scam comes in when criminals self-identify as fake FEMA agents. They will ask for your bank account number or social security number, and will sometimes ask you to pay a fee before they conduct their inspection.

Don’t fall for this. FEMA does not and cannot charge for inspections. If the agent asks for anything other than your nine-digit FEMA registration code, do not comply.

Charity Scams

Maybe you lived in a different part of the country and was unaffected by the hurricane, or you lived in the state affected but got by relatively unscathed. Maybe you were hit hard but possess the funds to rebuild and offer financial support. No matter your situation, faulty scams are a dime a dozen. You want to be philanthropic, and as far as you know, you are helping individuals and families in need, but instead, your money might be going directly into the pocket of a scam artist.

Before you donate, do your research on your charity of choice, donate to organizations you trust, and be wary of those that seem to have appeared overnight.

Don’t jump in too quickly

You want to get your life back and help others do the same, but understand its a process. Be skeptical of unusually quick turnarounds, guaranteed results, and sketchy operations. Trust your instincts.

 

  Some of these natural events are minor, while others fit the description of a natural disaster. Hurricane Katrina ravaged many areas of New Orleans in 2005, as did Hurricane Gustav in 2008. When these storms hit, they leave immense damage, and something else sinister, in their wake: scam artists.

While citizens are mourning over the loss of their homes, their livelihoods, and sometimes even their family members, criminals seeth to take advantage of people’s desperation. If you’re trying to get back on your feet and repair your home after a natural disaster, expect that someone will try to deceive you with any of the following post-storm scams.

Insurance scams

Fly-by-night contractors travel the country in search of the next disaster. These men and women are charming and persuasive. They will prey on your vulnerabilities by telling you that they can get to work immediately by saying they can waive insurance deductibles. They will offer discounted rates so low it will be hard to believe – and resist.

Once you agree, these faulty contractors will ask you to sign a document that allows them to communicate with your insurer. By signing the paper, you’ve essentially given the scammer free money. They will collect the insurance payouts and split.

FEMA Scams

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) dedicates itself to helping supply necessary funds and supplies to help clean up disaster-ravaged communities. The scam comes in when criminals self-identify as fake FEMA agents. They will ask for your bank account number or social security number, and will sometimes ask you to pay a fee before they conduct their inspection.

Don’t fall for this. FEMA does not and cannot charge for inspections. If the agent asks for anything other than your nine-digit FEMA registration code, do not comply.

Charity Scams

Maybe you lived in a different part of the country and was unaffected by the hurricane, or you lived in the state affected but got by relatively unscathed. Maybe you were hit hard but possess the funds to rebuild and offer financial support. No matter your situation, faulty scams are a dime a dozen. You want to be philanthropic, and as far as you know, you are helping individuals and families in need, but instead, your money might be going directly into the pocket of a scam artist.

Before you donate, do your research on your charity of choice, donate to organizations you trust, and be wary of those that seem to have appeared overnight.

Don’t jump in too quickly

You want to get your life back and help others do the same, but understand its a process. Be skeptical of unusually quick turnarounds, guaranteed results, and sketchy operations. Trust your instincts.