INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) – Amid the recent storms in Indiana, Attorney General Todd Rokita is sharing tips to know the difference between disaster fraud and legitimate organizations.
In a release Wednesday, Rokita shared some red flags when it comes to disaster relief funds and property repair scams:
Fake federal or local aid
- Watch out for fake offers of local or federal aid.
- Government and local disaster workers do not solicit or accept money. They don’t charge for inspections or for help in filling out any disaster aid applications.
- Ask any inspectors to show you their identification badge, and don’t let anyone in your home who claims to be working for the government or disaster relief who cannot provide proof of their identification.
- Donate to trusted, established charities.
- Beware of charities that pop up after recent disasters.
- Monitor information from local law enforcement and government officials regarding donation needs and local efforts to raise money.
- Verify phone numbers and websites for charities before giving.
- There are a number of sources you can check to verify that a charity is legitimate before giving: CharityNavigator.org, CharityWatch.org, Give.org, Guidestar.org
Verify information in social media posts
- Double-check any fundraising campaigns for a history of charitable donations before giving.
- Crowdfunding websites often host individual requests for assistance but are not always vetted by the site or other sources.
Beware of potential contractor and home improvement scams
- Make sure you have an insurance company evaluate damage before arranging repairs to ensure that the work needed will be covered.
- Watch out for companies going door-to-door in neighborhoods hardest hit by the storms; be sure to conduct your own research before signing anything and try to get at least three written estimates.
- Never pay the full amount upfront for a home repair and pause if you are asked to provide a very large deposit.
- Be wary of contractors claiming to be able to complete a repair for a discount using supplies left over from another job.
“Although we have many, generous helpers in our communities, we unfortunately have scammers looking to take advantage of others who are hiding in plain sight,” Rokita said. “But there are ways Hoosiers can take steps to protect themselves as they begin the process of reconstructing what the storms destroyed.”
Report scams to the attorney general’s office online.