Natural disasters such as the recent tornados in the Midwest bring devastating destruction of property and loss of life, but unfortunately, they also bring scammers looking to take advantage of the situation for their monetary gain. Victims of the storms should be wary of people claiming to be government officials, representatives of disaster relief organizations or insurance adjusters. Always confirm their identity and never give personal information, such as your Social Security number to anyone whose identity you have not confirmed. Trust me, you can’t trust anyone. Also beware of people claiming to be loan brokers who represent that, for a fee, they can guarantee a low interest loan from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). When it comes to home repairs, check out the reputation of any contractor you are considering with the Better Business Bureau and your state Attorney General. Also, make sure that they are fully bonded. Finally, for people who are considering giving to charities to help the victims, make sure that you are giving to a legitimate charity and not a phony one set up by a scammer.
To check out the legitimacy of a charity or even to see how much of what you contribute actually goes to the charitable purposes of a legitimate charity go to www.charitynavigator.org.