Preventing Fraud and Identity Theft
Unfortunately, after a disaster, some individuals will choose to take advantage of people while they are displaced. Likewise, others will prey on people after they have returned home and are assessing their damage and beginning repairs.
Here are some tips to follow in order to protect yourself from fraudsters and identity theft:
- Ask contractors for references and proof of insurance. Check with those references regarding the contractor’s dependability and quality of work.
- Get written estimates with a description of work to be done, time schedules, and payment schedules. Get estimates from more than one contractor.
- Read and understand all contracts before you sign. Never sign any forms with blanks. Keep copies of everything you sign.
- Never pay a contractor in full until the work is complete and acceptable.
- Check your bank and credit card statements for purchases you have not made. If you suspect you are the victim of identity theft, report it immediately to your bank, credit card company, and local law enforcement.