There are common fraudulent schemes that arise during all types of emergencies and disasters.
Price Gouging occurs when sellers charge excessively high prices for products and services during public emergencies. Inevitably during emergencies and other disasters, unscrupulous merchants will try to take unfair advantageof consumers by greatly increasing prices for food, water and other items in high demand. Check with your states' Office of the Attorney General for laws in your state.
Home Improvement Contractor Fraud Natural disasters like floods and hurricanes can cause widespread damage that leaves homeowners desperate to replace or repair damage to their property. Armed with large insurance payouts or out of pocket funding, they are eager to pay contractors to make their homes habitable again. Post disaster zones provide fertile ground for unscrupulous contractors looking to take advantage of vulnerable consumers.
Charity Scams During times of crisis, people are eager to donate to those in need. Scammers know this and are quick to cash in on the spirit of giving. In a large scale disaster or crisis many charitable organizations will solicit donations for those in need. Consumers should do their homework before donating to any disaster relief efforts. Many states have a charity unit in the office of attorney general or utlize charity watchhdog groups
Pet adoption Scams
Flood Damage Vehicles In the wake of natural disasters flood-damaged vehicles are often declared total losses by insurance companies. Rather than relegating these worthless vehicles to a junkyard , scammers will attempt to sell them to unsuspecting consumers. They work quickly to unload these vehicles before computer systems are updated, so that check systems don't have time to detect a vehicles history. Flood damaged vehicles can be hard to spot and often develop serious problems. Always check on vehicle history and make sure the vin # matches the vehicle history report. Mkae sure its not branded a "Flood vehicle".
Government Assistance Scams