Disaster-Relief Scam Prevention Message from Vermont Attorney General
Disaster-Relief Scam Prevention
From the Vermont Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program:
Scammers often strike in the aftermath of natural disasters, taking advantage of community generosity and our heightened emotional state. Be on the lookout and report disaster-related scams, including:
GOVERNMENT IMPOSTER RELIEF SCAMS, in which a scammer may claim to be FEMA or another government organization offering help for a fee, or demanding your personal information.
Avoid this scam: Connect with FEMA directly and follow updates from the Governor and Vermont Emergency Management.
PHONY CHARITIES that claim to be recovery efforts when they are not.
Avoid this scam: Do your research and only give to valid charities that you have thoroughly researched and vetted.
DUBIOUS CONTRACTORS without business credentials that claim they can restore damages immediately, requiring upfront payment, but never return to complete the work.
Avoid this scam: Never pay in full upfront for a home improvement project. Make sure you have a written contract. Check residential contractor registration status with the Secretary of State’s Office of Professional Regulation.
UTILITY DISCONNECTION SCAMS demand payment along with threats to disconnect the consumer’s services.
Avoid the scam: Hang up and contact your utility provider directly about your account status, using a number you know to be valid.
When you encounter an unexpected or new interaction, take steps to verify whether it may be a scam by slowing down, logging the contact, reaching out to others and doing research. Warn others about scams by reporting the scams you encounter to the Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) at 800-649-2424 or online at http://ago.vermont.gov/cap.
Let's stop scams together.