What you should know: FEMA fraud and other natural disaster scams

What you should know: FEMA fraud and other natural disaster scams
(Source: KPLC)

LOUISIANA (KPLC) - For those applying for federal aid, state and federal officials are urging you to watch for any potential fraud.

In the aftermath of the disaster in South Louisiana, Attorney General Jeff Landry unleashed a new initiative in order to help those rebuilding their lives and homes. If you are in the process of contracting for repairs caused by the recent flooding, here are some tips to follow:

  • Take a picture of your contractor, his/her vehicle, and its license plate.
  • Take a picture of the contractor’s business card and his/her driver’s license.
  • Photograph or scan his/her contracting license and insurance.
  • Photograph or scan the contract made with him/her.
  • Photograph or scan all checks and money orders made as payments to the contractor.
  • Preserve all these photographs by emailing them to yourself and a trusted companion and/or by saving them in a cloud-based application.

All contractor companies should inform their employees that they will be photographed. A licensed professional contractor will be more than happy to take a selfie. If a potential contractor refuses a picture, it could be a sign of concern.

And Sgt. James Anderson with Louisiana State Police Troop D explains that fraud happens all over the country during disasters.

One of the things we are concerned about is FEMA fraud, Anderson said. If someone approaches you, check for their credentials. Anyone posing as a FEMA agent will never ask you for money. If someone asks for money for help, then they might not be who they are trying to be.

Plus, Carmen Million with Southwest Louisiana Better Business Bureau offers some tips to avoid donation scams during natural disasters:

  • Be cautious when given giving online
  • Research organization
  • Be wary of 100% claims
  • Does charity have on-the-round presence?

To report a scam or sign up for consumer alerts, call Attorney General Jeff Landry's Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-351-4889 or visit www.AGJeffLandry.com.

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