Attorney general warns flood victims of scams and gives tips for protection
BATON ROUGE – Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office is warning residents impacted by the flood of possible scams and tips they should practice to protect themselves in a time where many are vulnerable.
See below for the list of scams and tips:
- Occurs when someone charges inflated and unjustified prices for products or services during declared states of emergency
- Report suspected price gouging to your local sheriff or district attorney and to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section at 800-351-4889 or by filing a report at www.AGJeffLandry.com
- Some portray themselves as government officials or insurance adjusters to obtain personal information or gain access to your home.
- Ask for ID and verify credentials of people offering low-interest government loans or requesting fees for services.
- FEMA does NOT charge for any services
- Get at least three bids on the same amount of work. All bids should be itemized and detailed.
- Require the contractor to show proof of insurance. Call that insurer for confirmation.
- Verify the contractor’s address and ask for references of previous customers. Make sure the contractor is licensed through the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors at www.lslbc.louisiana.gov
- Do not agree to a large down payment. A down payment is typically not more than 10 percent to 25 percent of the total price.
- Get a contract in writing and keep a copy.
- Always pay by check or money order and keep a receipt.
- Take pictures of home damage and repair work.
- Take pictures of contractors, their license, business cards, driver’s license, vehicles, company names, and the company names on the sides of vehicles.
- Keep all photos and email them to yourself.
- Do not donate to a charity that asks for cash or wired donations and that does not provide proof your contribution is tax deductible.
- Search the IRS site to determine which organizations are eligible to receive tax deductible contributions: https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/
- Learn more about a charity’s legitimacy on the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance website at www.give.org.
- Have someone visit the locations of the advertised property.
- Never wire money or give out your bank account or credit card info. Over the phone or internet
- Flood waters bring out pests
- Beware of free inspections that could result in unnecessary repairs and expenses.
- Get a second opinion.
Water treatment devices:
- If you think your drinking water may be affected then contact the public health or water department before purchasing a water treatment unit.
- Offers to test the tap water in your home for free is almost always a part of a sales promotion.
- If in doubt, boil your water for a least one minute or drink bottled water. Also visit www.epa.gov.
- Have your car checked out by a car dealer or a repair shop if your car was submerged or standing in over a foot of water for more than an hour.
- Even if the car runs there may be hidden damage.
- Be sure to get a detailed, written estimate and keep copies of all the receipts and invoices.
- If you are looking to buy a used vehicle, inspect it carefully. Look at hidden parts to check mud or silt or indicators of the car having damage.