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Consumer Fraud Alert: Scammers are Targeting Hurricane Victims

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Through late September, the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season has been rough. Several major storms have already made landfall in the United States and the Caribbean, including Hurricane Irma, which hit the state of Florida. Sadly, in the confusion of the storm’s aftermath, some unscrupulous actors are attempting to take advantage of hurricane victims.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued an official warning for Hurricane Irma victims. FEMA wants all victims to be on the lookout for potential fraud schemes. Unfortunately, this is often an issue after major hurricanes. Fraudsters look to take advantage of an already delicate, difficult situation. Here, our dedicated West Palm Beach consumer fraud lawyers highlight three fraud schemes that you need to watch out for after this terrible storm.

  1. Impersonation of Federal Officials

First and foremost, you need to be on the lookout for people posing as FEMA workers and other federal officials. There have been reports of people saying they work for FEMA who are not actually associated with the agency. As sad as it is, this type of fraud is a serious problem after natural disasters. Fraudsters are known to pose as FEMA workers, in order to get access to your property, either to steal property directly, or to steal your information. When working with someone who claims to be a federal official, please be sure to seek confirmation of their identity. 

  1. Soliciting Fraudulent Donations for Charities

If you have the financial means to do so, donating money to a hurricane relief effort is a wonderful thing to do. Many people all around the state of Florida (and in other regions) could desperately use an act of charity right now. Though, unfortunately, many people set up fake charities following these types of storms. Beyond that issue, there are also people who act as charity representatives, when in reality, they have no connection to any charity at all. When donating your hard-earned money for a good cause, please be sure that you are gifting it to a legitimate representative of a reliable charity. 

  1. Stealing Sensitive Personal Information

Finally, one of the biggest fraud-related issues that consumers need to watch out for after hurricanes is identify theft. This type of theft can happen in many different ways. A person may attempt to steal your identity in order to collect property damage compensation that is actually owed to you. Alternatively, fraudsters may pose as representatives of insurance companies or federal agencies in order to get your sensitive personal information from you. In turn, this information will be used to steal your identity. Please, always verify before giving out personal information.  

Request Your Free Consumer Fraud Consultation  

At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our top-rated consumer fraud attorneys have helped many victims recover full compensation for their damages. If you were a victim of fraud, please call us today to set up your free case evaluation. From our offices in West Palm Beach and Miami, we represent clients throughout South Florida, including Weston, Davie, Miramar, Oakland Park and Fort Lauderdale.

Resource:

fema.gov/news-release/2017/09/13/fema-advises-disaster-applicants-beware-rumors-misinformation-and-fraud

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