Hurricane Scams in Tampa
Hurricane Irma did not do as much damage as we had feared. However, but many homes and personal properties have still suffered damage. If you plan to file claims with FEMA, please be alert to hurricane scams.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of scammers out there. Since FEMA is active in our community, keep in mind that:
- FEMA does not allow individuals to solicit on its behalf.
- FEMA does not endorse individual contractors or home loan companies
- No governmental agency (state, federal or county) will ask for your financial information. DO NOT give financial information to anyone!
- Federal and state workers WILL NOT ask for or accept money on behalf of FEMA, the Small Business Administration or the state government.
- All governmental employees will have laminated identification badges and will have your nine-digit FEMA registration number.
- Beware of offers to help you, for a fee, to fill out loans, grant forms and applications. FEMA representatives will help you for free.
Be alert and suspicious. If you have been scammed, call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 (toll free) or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hurricane Scams and Contractors
There are both good and bad contractors out there. Here are a few guidelines in finding someone to trust.
- Beware of anyone who offers to inflate your disaster damage assessment.
- Beware of contractors who ask for large cash deposits or advance payments. Legitimate contractors normally do not require more than one-third as a down payment.
- Ask contractors for proof of insurance (both disability and workers’ compensation). If the contractor is not insured, you are liable for accidents.
- Ask for written estimates, contracts, and guarantees. These should include all planned work, taxes and other fees, payment schedules, and who will apply for permits and licenses. A contractor may charge for estimates.
- Read and understand all document applications, vouchers and other papers relating to disaster assistance. If you need help, contact FEMA.
Applying for FEMA Aid
Register for FEMA assistance
By phone: 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585
Smart phone: m.fema.gov
Via 711-Relay or Video Relay Services: 1-800-621-3362
Since most of us will be filing insurance claims, we’ll discuss insurance and the need for a personal attorney in future blogs.
About Brian Hoag
Hopefully, you will never need the legal services of a Tampa personal injury lawyer. If you do, please give Hoag Law Firm a call or complete your online Free Case Evaluation. A free consultation can help you understand your rights. With honest advice and an experienced attorney at your side, you can recover the largest possible settlement. You’ll feel great getting back to living your life.