Top 3 Disaster-Related Scams

In the US alone, superstorm Sandy caused about $25 billion in damages. A disaster this big means two things: a lot of people badly need our help, and many con artists will take advantage of victim’s desperation.

Here are 3 of the most common scams in natural disasters and how to avoid falling victim from the opportunistic individuals.

Fake Victims

Social media really made our lives easier in terms of communication. Unfortunately, this also helps con artists’ in finding preys. Pleas for relief assistance have been posted, reposted, tweeted, and retweeted so much, making it impossible to filter the real requests from the cons. Some fabricate stories just to get anything they want.

If you really want to help, get in touch with the reputable charities you know, and help them help the real victims.

Speaking of Charities

Always read the name of the charity asking for donations. Many people will fabricate and come up with their own crooked plans and adopt the names of the well-known charities to trick you. Make an online search for the qualified charities. You can visit CharityNavigator.org for the largest and most utilized evaluator of charities in the country. It’s a free service.

Corrupt and Crooked Contractors

Corruption can come in any form during the time of desperation, and crooked contractors are the most common scammers at times like this. Many may seem legit, as they are registered business. However, there are some that are not, and doing business with them can be very devastating.

Before working with any contractor, ask for their copy of liability insurance and check the validity of the policy. Furthermore, ask and check their references. Ask the BBB (Better Business Bureau) about the company’s track record.

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These are just three of the many scams that may arise during times of desperation. It’s a tough world out there, stay informed to have an edge against the crooks.