With the recent damage caused by Tropical Storm Debbie and the Colorado wildfires, you can expect to see scammers following in the wake of these disasters with scams to further victimize the people who have been harmed by these natural disasters. Some scams will be when the criminals pose as insurance adjusters who need payments before doing their work while other scams will be scammers posing as government agents there to help you who merely need your personal information such as your Social Security number to make you eligible for assistance programs. Additional scams will involve phony contractors who will take your money and vanish without doing any work. Finally, even if you have not been victimized, but merely want to help out the victims through charitable donations, you may end up giving to a phony charity.
Don’t trust insurance adjusters until you have confirmed their identity with the insurance company independently. Neither should you provide personal information to anyone until you have confirmed that they are legitimate. In regard to FEMA or other federal agencies, a quick call to FEMA can confirm that the person speaking with you is legitimate. Don’t trust IDs. They can be forged. As for contractors, confirm independently that they are licensed, bonded and have not had complaints made against them. All states provide this information. Finally, in regard to any charity, check it out first on www.charitynavigator.com where you can find out if it is legitimate or not and even how much of your charitable donation will actually go toward charitable purposes and how much will be used for salaries and administrative expenses.