Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Don't Be a Victim - Scam Warning

by Osman Parvez

 Just a heads up.    Scam artists always follow natural disasters.    

In the coming days and weeks, there will be rush to repair and put right what flood victims have lost.  Be wary and be wise of con artists posing as contractors, particularly those who stop by in front of your house or who are from out of the area.    Verify that they represent a legitimate business and be cautious about providing payment up front for services yet to be rendered.   

Common scams involve home repair, debris removal, insurance fraud, and door to door sales of home repair products.  

As a community, it's especially important to touch base and keep an eye on the elderly and others who may be more vulnerable to being scammed. 

One of the most depressing scams involves fake charities.   Please donate only to established charities and do so directly, no via third parties.   

Here's an example of a possible fake charity: Love for Lyons.  Supposedly they're collecting on behalf of the Boulder Community Foundation, which is a legitimate charity.   But why not donate directly to BCF?   Why go through a third party?   

Is Love for Lyons a scam?    Who knows.   They might be legit or they might be a couple of con artists from out of state who know how to tug on your heart strings and create a crowd sourced donation page quickly.   As of this writing, they've raised $10,000.   Hopefully it gets to BCF.  

More information on disaster scams: 

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/recovery/consumer_info.html

http://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0411/natural-disaster-scams-to-watch-for.aspx

http://www.fema.gov/medialibrary/media_records/4148

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