Although the devastation from the recent tornadoes in Western Kentucky has created an outpouring of donations and legitimate sources of help from across the country, there are still people who try to take advantage of victims in need.
On Sunday, the Kentucky State Police said they have received reports of fraudulent disaster relief workers. In response, they released a short guide to spotting tornado relief scams and fraudsters.
Much of the guide comes from the National Insurance Crime Bureau and specifically details how to spot fraud related to fake contractors. The list says:
- “Get more than one estimate. Never let a contractor pressure you into hiring them.
- Work only with licensed and insured contractors.
- Demand references and check them.
- Ask to see the salesperson’s driver’s license and write down the driver’s license number and their vehicle’s license plate number.
- Get a contract in writing. This should include cost, time schedules, payment schedules, guarantees, work to be done, and other expectations that should be detailed.
- Never sign a contract with blanks as these could be filled in later without your knowledge.
- Never pay a contractor in full or sign a completion certificate until the work is done and ensure reconstruction is up to current code.”
Although legitimate members of the National Guard, FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance and the American Red Cross are on the ground in Western Kentucky helping to rebuild affected areas, the guide says that FEMA officials will always have an official badge and photo ID on them and will never ask for money in exchange for their services.
The tornadoes on Dec, 11 and 12 killed 77 people and displaced hundreds, according to Gov. Andy Beshear’s office.
If you’d like to help people impacted by the tornadoes, check out our list of ways to donate.
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