Beware Scams, Price Gouging in Hurricane Earl’s Wake

Posted September 1, 2010 in Frauds & Scams by Arthur Buono

Hurricane Earl may just brush the East Coast this week. If so that will be good news for vacationers and property owners. Even if the best case-scenario unfolds it’s a good idea to keep in mind those unscrupulous people who seek advantage over victims in any natural disaster.

  • Hurricane Earl set to skirt East Coast
  • Hurricanes and other natural disasters breed scams and frauds
  • Disaster preparedness means being savvy about dealing with contractors


Cheats and Frauds Take Advantage after Disasters

You know what we’re talking about. The grifters who cruise neighborhoods offering to fix roofs, gutters, or siding, or to remove downed trees and brush. The gas station that jacks the price sky-high at the first sign of an interruption in supply. Many states, like Virginia, Florida and Texas, have laws prohibiting price-gouging. Most only apply in special circumstances, and may only cover certain necessities, like gasoline.

Cleaning up and rebuilding after a natural disaster can be a daunting task. For sure there will be too many jobs for reputable contractors to get to quickly. This can pressure victims into dealing with irresponsible providers or worse, common frauds. If you see this sort of rip-off in action, your first contact should be your state’s attorney general’s office or consumer protection office.

Keep in mind these signs of a home repair scam if you’re affected. Review these tips for hiring a home repair contractor. Disaster preparedness isn’t only about having flashlights, batteries, and fresh drinking water. It’s about having a post-disaster plan and the patience and resourcefulness to ride it out. If the worst happens, government assistance for housing needs, temporary and permanent, is always available.

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