Highlighting Saint Paul

Natural Disaster Scams

Posted on 06/21/24

It seems like natural disaster season is never ending these days. Now is a good time to remind ourselves that after Mother Nature moves out the criminal scammers tend to move in.

Following extreme weather events, dubious contractors and outright scammers descend on affected communities, offering quick, cheap fixes. They canvas neighborhoods in search of “work” that they may or may not even attempt to do. Many will specifically target older homeowners who they perceive as more likely to have savings.

It’s safest to only trust contractors that you proactively reach out to. Also, regardless of who you are talking to, get written estimates and compare bids from multiple contractors before starting any work. Finally, pay no more than a third of the total cost prior to the work beginning – and then only when materials arrive.

When it comes to fraud, knowledge is power. But how can we spread that knowledge around so more people are empowered to protect themselves?

Protect yourself and others by reporting a scam, or searching for existing scams near you.

One great way to share what you know is through the AARP Scam-Tracking Map (www.aarp.org/scammap). The map shows scams that people experience every day, and it also includes law enforcement warnings. You can submit scams you’ve encountered and explore what’s being reported in your geography.

We’re all in this together – let’s share what we know so the next target doesn’t become the next victim.

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Report scams to local law enforcement. For help from AARP, call 1-877-908-3360 or visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.

This story is provided by AARP Minnesota. Visit the AARP Minnesota page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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