ST. LOUIS – “I mean, it’s heartbreaking because we knew it was going to happen and it actually happened,” Devon Ferrata said.
The Ferrata family of Valrico, Florida is one of thousands cleaning up after Hurricane Ian.
“I immediately called my insurance company, filed a claim on the boat and the house, and let them know that ‘Hey, it is damaged, (I) want to get the process started,’” Luke Ferrata said.
The process may be far messier for many others. Insurance experts say scammers are ready to prey on a new wave of vulnerable victims.
“You may have a contractor show up at your house and say, ‘I’m going to get you a new roof, I’m gonna handle the insurance company. I’ll talk to them, I’ll adjust it. Let’s look at your policy,’” Florida insurance attorney Gina Clausen Lozier said.
Hurricane victims are not the only ones who need to be wary of storm connected scams. Those of us who want to help them also need to be vigilant.
“It’s still good to donate, but we want them to do it confidently and safely so that the money they’re eager to provide gets to the people who need it the most,” FBI Supervisory Special Agent Price McCarty said.
McCarty says the bureau is warning of hurricane-related fraud schemes. He says be careful what you click.
“Rather than following a link that they may receive in an email or a text message, it’s best they do their own research,” he said.
Scammers often spoof agency phone numbers. McCarty says it is always best to research the organization telephone number and call direct to verify
“Legitimate, charitable donations are not going to be in the form of gift cards or wire transfers,” he said.
The Illinois Attorney General’s Office is warning consumers to watch out for hurricane-damaged cars being sold in Illinois. In August, we spoke with local car expert Jay Grossman about the influx of flood-damaged vehicles following flooding in the St. Louis area. He says flood cars can return to market in fewer than 30 days.
“They’re trying to move these cars as quickly as possible. They’re going to go to auctions. Someone’s going to buy it,” Grossman said.