BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell is warning consumers across the state to keep a close watch for any attempted scams during the 2015 hurricane season.
Caldwell says that some common scams include:
Identity theft – In the event of an evacuation, never assume personal items will be there when you go back home. It is important to take sensitive personal documents as you evacuate, or keep them in a safe, waterproof location. These items can include but are not limited to passports, credit cards, checkbooks, car registrations, college degrees, and social security cards.
Fake emergency response officials – Scammers often pose as government agency employees. Always confirm the identity of anyone who says they are by checking with the agency itself. Never give cash on the spot to anyone who shows up claiming to be an insurance agent or disaster aid worker.
Home Repair Scams – In the aftermath of a disaster, it's important to get multiple estimates for repairs. Check the qualifications of anyone working on your home. Get the name of the contractor's insurance agency, and contact the Louisiana State Licensing Board at 800-256-1392 to make sure everyone working on your home is licensed to do so. Always get a guarantee in writing and keep a copy of the contract in a safe place. Pay by check or money order, and keep all receipts, contracts, and change orders.
Fake charities – Verify charities by going to www.guidestar.org to see if the charity is a tax exempt organization. Scammers can almost instantly copy the look of a legitimate charity.
If you encounter any of these scams, call the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-351-4889.