Natural and man-made disasters can strike at any time, in any place.
Hikingware.com is your complete survival food supply company, dealing in only the top-rated and proven emergency supplies that you’ll need to weather any disaster.
But after any disaster, there are those who seek to profit from the confusion and breakdown of infrastructure with scams.
Here is a look at some of those scams to beware of, and how to avoid them:
Home Repair Fraud.
Home repair scam artists are known to swoop in after storms, floods or other natural disasters to take advantage of people who are scrambling to make repairs. The homeowner should take extra caution before contracting to have damaged or destroyed property repaired or rebuilt. The homeowner should not succumb to pressure tactics.
Be wary of door-to-door solicitors because many home repair con artists are transients who move quickly into a troubled area. Ask for recommendations from people you know and trust. Whenever possible, use established local contractors.
Always ask for references. It is a warning sign when a company fails to provide references when requested.
Never pay in cash, or make a down payment in cash.
Contractors and roofers need to be licensed by the state they are operating in. Make sure you ask to see their license(s) before agreeing to anything in writing.
Phoney phone calls.
After a disaster you may receive a phone call soliciting personal financial information in order to become eligible for aid. Some callers even claim to be from FEMA. Never, under any circumstance, give out information about your bank accounts, debit cards or credit cards. FEMA is not interested in any of that; and neither is any other legitimate emergency/disaster agency.
Charitable donation scams.
After disasters, con artists often pose as charitable organizations to solicit contributions. If you wish to contribute, be wary of the following red flags:
The charity uses a name that sounds like a better-known, reputable organization.
The solicitor cannot or will not answer basic questions about the charity.
The organization uses high-pressure tactics to obtain a donation.
The solicitor insists on payment in cash.
The representative of the organization asks to pick up your donation as opposed to allowing you to mail it.
Always check to see if the charity is registered with your state’s Attorney General’s Office.
Because of the increased costs of confronting an emergency, consumers frequently fall behind in their credit payments or overextend themselves to the point that they must choose whether to pay creditors or obtain basic necessities such as food. Such consumers are often approached by finance companies promising to consolidate the homeowner’s debt for existing mortgage, credit card debt, car loans and repair loans. They then pressure the homeowner to sign multiple agreements without sufficient time to review them or consult with anyone. The negative outcomes of such refinancing schemes include high processing fees, payments to bogus or phantom creditors and loan defaults. The homeowner often cannot pay both the refinancing costs and basic living expenses, resulting in a situation far worse than before the refinancing.
Lower income and minority borrowers, as well as elderly homeowners, are usually targeted by predatory lenders. They encourage borrowers to lie about their income in order to get a loan; knowingly lend the borrower more money than he/she can repay; charge unnecessary fees; pressure borrowers into high-risk loans and use high- pressure tactics to sell home improvements and then finance them at higher interest rates. These predators pounce on desperate people in order to line their pockets.
The best way to avoid all of the above scams, and any others after an emergency, is simple: Think twice and never sign anything or commit to anything until you’ve had a chance to sleep on it and consult a trusted family member or friend.