Natural Disaster Scams

Fraud in Lime Green

Unfortunately, scams based on national disasters are common during times of crisis when people are vulnerable and in search of assistance. Whether it’s in the aftermath of a hurricane, major flood, wildfire, or other disaster, scammers seek to exploit the situation to defraud victims. Here are some key points to remember to help you protect yourself from falling victim to scams.

  1. Clean-Up and Debris Removal Scams:

  2. Be cautious of individuals promising immediate clean-up and debris removal services. Some scammers may quote exorbitant prices, demand upfront payments and disappear. Others may simply lack the necessary skills to do a good job. Always verify credentials before paying for services. Ask for IDs, licenses and proof of insurance. Seek references when available. If they’re legitimate operators, somebody has likely benefited from their service and can vouch for them.

  3. Personal Information Scams:

  4. Scammers may pose as government officials from FEMA or other agencies and request sensitive details such as credit card and bank account numbers or social security numbers. Legitimate government agencies like FEMA do not charge an application fee. If someone offers to help you qualify for FEMA funds in exchange for money, it’s likely a scam.

  5. Disaster-Related Charity Scams:

  6. Scammers may set up fraudulent charities to exploit disaster situations and the public's willingness to help. Before donating to any charity, do your homework. Research the charity and verify its legitimacy.

  7. Rental Listing Scams:

  8. Some con artists prey on disaster victims who are displaced from their homes and need temporary or long-term accommodations. Avoid wiring money or providing security deposits or rent before meeting with renters or companies. Obtain a lease, review it closely, and consult with legal counsel before signing if necessary. Watch out for unscrupulous landlords who seek to use the stress of a disaster to gouge potential tenants.

It can be difficult to make clear-minded decisions during the stress of a disaster. To help avoid becoming a scam victim, follow these best practices and be aware and skeptical of potential scams. For more fraud and scam resources, visit Cadence Bank’s Fraud and Security Center.


This article is provided as a free service to you and is for general informational purposes only. Cadence Bank makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the content in the article. The article is not intended to provide legal, accounting or tax advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes.

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