How to Talk to Your Clients About Disaster Scams
This article was contributed by our exhibitor Total Care Restoration. Learn more about their business here!
Once a disaster subsides, humanitarian movements often come forward to help those affected get back on their feet. Since treacherous storms and hurricanes can completely upturn an entire community, fundraisers are helpful to give money to disaster victims to compensate for a fraction of what’s been destroyed or lost.
Unfortunately, there are people out there who take advantage of the human kindness that follows these events. In the midst of the charitable organizations making efforts for their fellow neighbors are scammers who take it as a chance to steal.
It’s important that during the restoration process that you know how to speak to your client who is aiming to repair what’s been damaged about possible scams that could come their way.
These details about disaster scams can help you shed light on the issue to your clients:
Disaster Scams Come in Different Forms
Scammers take varying approaches to steal from your clients. Here are some typical disaster scam scenarios:
After a disaster, people are desperate to restore their home to its original condition. The accumulation of costs from the destroyed home and other results may lead them to opt for a deal with a seemingly legitimate contractor who’s gone out of their way to contact your client.
This is when false contactors will drive through damaged areas to hunt for homeowners who are desperate to start repairs immediately. They approach vulnerable property owners and offer to start repairs and connect with their insurance company right away. This is where they will take the insurance details through an Assignment of Benefits signature, and steal the information for their own false claims and theft.
Other contractor cons involve someone pretending to be a contractor for up-front cash payment. They may push their services on your client with an unrealistically cheap price. While it may seem that they are being kind and lowering prices to help those in need, these unlicensed fake contractors will likely do one or more of the following:
- Run with the money and not perform any repairs
- Use their minimal handyman experience to make a profit without proper licensing
- Conduct flawed repairs that either leave the same amount of damage or more after the disaster
Government Threats or Positive Incentives
Your client is also vulnerable to con artists posing as a government agency, threatening criminal prosecution that can be prevented if they offer their social security information or credit card number. On the other hand, some scams offer grants, so your client thinks they will be rewarded with funds for sharing this information.
This is a concerning method of conning as it could lead to identity theft and further stress, costs, and confusion during an already trying time. Like the fake contractors, other cons may trick your client to share their insurance information to the false government organization. With this, the scammers can make fraudulent insurance claims that can accumulate into thousands of stolen dollars from insurance companies and charities.
With The Bad News, Offer Good News
Informing your clients of these threats while they’re already undergoing so much pain and stress from a disaster may leave them feeling hopeless. So with this information, ensure that you offer these tips so they can practice precautionary measures in the face of scams.
For legitimate post-disaster house restoration, Total Care Restoration is here to help. To learn more about what we can do in the face of extreme weather damage or other home ailments, contact us now.