LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)– Now that hurricane season has started, scammers have another opportunity to take advantage of people in difficult moments. Scammers are known to create GoFundMe pages claiming to be in need after a destructive hurricane passes through an area. Experts warn that some crowdfunding sites do very little vetting of individuals who decide to post for assistance after a natural disaster. As a result, it can be difficult for donors to verify the trustworthiness of crowdfunding requests for support.
Chris Babin of the BBB of Acadiana says some scammers even pretend to be contractors looking to help. Others have impersonated FEMA. According to the Federal Trade Commission, this is one of the most common weather-related scams.
“We know scammers have impersonated FEMA in the past pretending that they either need some type of payment up front from us in order to receive compensation or even our personal identifiable information in an effort to lend a helping hand but it’s just scammers trying to steal that information from us,” said Babin.
Attorney General Jeff Landry says the only way to avoid these types of scams is to be on the defensive.
“You have to know exactly what you’re looking for,” he says.
Some tips to avoid storm-related scams:
- Sign up for alerts and warnings.
- Know the safest place in your home.
- Secure important documents.
- Have an evacuation plan.
If you have a scam you’d like me to investigate, feel free to send me an email at email@example.com.