As victims of Hurricane Ida begin to assess the damage and destruction to their homes and property, they should be wary of hurricane-related scams for financial relief and construction on their homes.
Almost a week after Ida has passed, half a million Southern Louisiana residents are still without power due to the strong winds and flooding brought by the storm. Many evacuees are returning to their homes and others have been hard at work trying to repair and salvage what they can. As residents count their blessings and try to move on, others are trying to take advantage of the situation with fraud and scams.
It’s your job to stay vigilant during these trying times and be careful to whom you give information out to. It’s our job as your financial institution to help you see the red flags when scammers present themselves to you. Below are a few ways they are trying to scam you and what you can do to prevent it.
Fake Roofing Companies
A large majority of neighborhoods have small to severe damage to their roofs and may need tarps, shingles, or an entirely new roof. It’s one thing for construction companies to ride down your streets and hand out business cards and it’s another for scammers to ask for money upfront before starting the job.
- Never give out personal information or money upfront
- Verify the contractor is with a reputable company
- Ask for a valid license and adequate insurance
It is imperative that many residents get financial compensation sooner than later to help ease the burden of having to repair or rebuild their homes. However, giving vital information out to the wrong people is the easiest way to fall for a scam.
- FEMA will never request payment, gift cards, or wire transfer to obtain relief
- In-person visits, calls, and emails requesting sensitive information should be reported
- Federal and local disaster workers do not solicit or accept money.
Federal and local disaster relief workers are slowly restoring what was lost and rebuilding our great communities. It’s up to you to protect what you can and spot the red flags when speaking to people about help with your home, insurance, and financial help.
For more information on scams and rumor control, please visit FEMA to learn some of the current scams people are trying to get away with.