After flooding along the Mississippi River and tornadoes in the southeast and midwest, the Federal Trade Commission reminds consumers that scams often follow disasters. The nation’s consumer protection agency warns consumers about urgent appeals for charitable donations, and cautions residents in stricken areas about fraudulent home repair offers.
Insurance settlements and other relief are crucial for homeowners and businesses, but these funds also attract criminals. If you are asked in person, by phone, e-mail or postal mail to make a donation, consider these tips about giving wisely:
Fraudsters aim at disaster-affected areas, hoping to cash in on property owners’ insurance settlements and federal government relief. Home and business owners who are considering whether to hire a contractor should:
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.