With severe weather season comes the threat of scams
FCC: No fee required to apply for or get disaster assistance
InvestigateTV - As the spring storm season begins, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) warned of scams in the aftermath of severe weather.
Better Business Bureau Vice President of Communications Josh Planos said as you plan for possible severe weather, you should also prepare for fraudsters who may show up during the aftermath looking to steal your money or information.
“Unfortunately, we see folks who are really looking to weaponize everything from lumber to new identification cards and kind of everything in between,” Planos said.
The FCC issued guidelines on staying safe from bad actors posing as legit contractors. The agency’s biggest piece of advice was to never give out personal information or agree to payment until you can independently verify the call is legitimate.
The FCC also warned contractors may claim to be a partner with your insurance company. In the release it cautioned people to never give policy numbers, coverage details, or other personal information out to companies with whom you have not entered into a contract.
Planos explained that a lot of municipalities require solicitation permits. He shared several tips to help avoid cons:
- Ask any door-to-door salesperson for identification
- Check their vehicles for a business name, phone number, and license for your state or province
- Be wary of out of state vehicles
Lastly, government disaster assistance agencies do not call or text asking for financial account information and there is no fee required to apply for or get disaster assistance from FEMA or the Small Business Administration (SBA).
You can review full fraud warnings from FEMA, FCC, and FTC for more information.
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