State warns Kentuckians of natural disaster scams
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – Attorney General Daniel Cameron issued a consumer alert Tuesday warning Kentuckians of possible scams following the tornadoes and storms in Western and Central Kentucky.
“Kentuckians in many of our Western and Central counties have already suffered devastating losses, and we are going to do everything in our power to ensure they do not encounter further losses as a result of scams,” said Attorney General Cameron. “Bad actors should be put on notice that we will not tolerate scams and fraud in our communities. Potential scams should be reported immediately to our office by visiting ag.ky.gov/scams.”
Scammers may impersonate relief or charitable organizations in order to access banking or personal information. Follow these tips to avoid charity scams:
- Remember that legitimate relief organizations will never ask for your banking information.
- Give responsibly to known, reputable sources or recognized disaster relief organizations. The Commonwealth has established the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund, which can be accessed by visiting TeamWKYReliefFund.ky.gov. Affected communities have also established funds, and you can check with local officials about the best way to donate.
- Follow FEMA’s best practices for volunteering and donating following a disaster. To view these and other tips visit the agency’s website.
Kentucky home or property owners affected by the tornadoes and storms should also be aware of out-of-town contractors going door-to-door to solicit business. While not all door-to-door contractors are scammers, some may lack the proper licensing for your area, offer quick fixes, or make promises they can’t deliver.
To avoid becoming a victim of a contractor-related scam, follow these tips:
- Contact your insurance company. If you are insured, discuss your policy coverage and filing requirements with your insurance company. Ask your adjuster for an estimate for repair costs. Be sure to save receipts for food, temporary lodging, and other expenses covered by your policy. Ask your insurance company to recommend reputable contractors to assist with repairs.
- Research contractors or repair companies and get more than one estimate. Search for contractors on BBB.org, get a reference from friends or family, and check with your local government agency responsible for registering or licensing contractors. Be sure to gather more than one estimate.
- Resist high-pressure sales tactics. Scammers often offer “special pricing” if you hire them on the spot. Do not feel forced to make a hasty decision to hire an unknown contractor. Be proactive in researching and selecting a contractor instead of reacting to sales calls or door-to-door pitches.
- Beware of contractors who claim to be “FEMA Certified,” represent FEMA, or mention that FEMA gave them your name. FEMA neither certifies nor endorses private-sector contractors. If you get a call informing you that you are eligible for a FEMA disaster assistance program, do not provide any personal or banking information over the phone.
- Do not pay a contractor or business upfront for their services.
- Do not sign insurance checks over to a contractor. Be sure to get an invoice from your contractor and pay them directly, preferably with a credit card, so that charges may be disputed, if necessary. Review contracts carefully, and do not sign documents that give a contractor rights to your insurance claims.
While the Attorney General’s Office has not received scam complaints related to Kentucky’s recent storms and tornadoes, it is important that Kentuckians remain vigilant and report scams immediately by visiting ag.ky.gov/scams.