Bogus Repair Scams Flourish After Disasters
Crooks prey on flood and tornado areas
June 7, 2011
Many areas of the U.S. have recently been hit by natural disasters such as floods and tornadoes, and while many legitimate companies may be offering assistance to affected consumers, some crooks may also use the incidents to commit identity theft.
Those in disaster areas may receive offers from companies that promise to help them repair their property for discounted prices, and this might be a sign of a potential fraud scheme, according to a report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). As a result, it's always a good idea for consumers to check a contractor's credentials and ask for references. If a company asks for high up-front payments, it may also be a sign of possible fraud.
In addition, many criminals may attempt to trick those outside the affected areas into turning over their personal information by posing as a charity, the report said. Many start making unsolicited phone calls to consumers asking if they will donate to a relief effort.
To find out what you can do before a catastrophe strikes, check out Prepare for a Disaster with These 7 Tips, by Brian McGinley, our Senior Vice President of Data Risk Management. Also, refer to our tips on how to protect your identity in the aftermath of a disaster.
©2003-2012 Identity Theft 911, LLC. All rights reserved.