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How to Recognize Scams and Insurance Schemes

Recently, Florida has been impacted by many storms including Hurricane Irma, and even though hurricane season is now over, we are still seeing an abundant amount of scams and insurance schemes circulating.

Many scams and schemes are going around that pertain to repairs to the home, insurance claims, and FEMA payments. Homeowners are finding themselves very vulnerable when it comes to these con artists, which makes it all the more important to be aware of what is going on and not allowing yourself to become a victim.

Scams Following the Hurricane

There are many scams following Hurricane Irma, so you should learn to recognize a few signs and follow a few tips if you are in the process of hiring a contractor if your home had been damaged. These tips apply to any situation and do not only apply to damage following a hurricane.

  • Always watch for unsolicited contractors that offer to do the work for you. They may even go as far as to say that they will award you with a hefty discount if you hire them to do the work for you because they already have a lot of the supplies they need

  • Always discuss the damage with your insurance company first and have someone come out and assess the damage before hiring anyone. It is also a good time to make sure that the repairs that are needed are covered by your insurance policy

  • Always verify a contractor’s license and insurance and make sure they are bonded before you hire them. You should also ask around, do some research, and find out as much as you can about the company prior to hiring them

  • As with any repair, you should never pay the full amount of the work upfront before anything has been done. If you are asked for a large deposit ahead of time, this should also cause you to pause and evaluate the situation a bit further

  • Do not sign anything until you have read it through thoroughly or have had a chance to allow your attorney to look through the documents first. This includes signing any kind of certificates of completion regarding the job or making any final payments before the work is completely finished

  • Always shop around and get estimates from several different contractors before making your final decision about who to hire

  • Contact the Florida Attorney General’s office to inquire about any complaints that may have already been filed against the contractor or company you are thinking about hiring

Not only are there home repair scams, but you may also come across tree service scams, disaster relief scams, and charity scams. It is always a good idea to be mindful of what is going on and never donate to a charity, hire a company or contractor, or seek any kind of financial help for damages until you have had the time to thoroughly research what is being offered, so you do not fall victim to any of these scams.

Falling for these scams and instances of fraud may provide a con artist with all your personal information, your money, and access to your accounts. Always contact the Attorney General’s office or even your lawyer if you are ever unsure of a company, contractor, or charity, or if you want the latest and most up to date information regarding insurance fraud and scams following a disaster.