Pro Bono News

Survivors of Disaster Often Victims a Second Time

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Survivors of Disaster Often Victims a Second Time

"As if it’s not enough that communities hit by disaster have to go about rebuilding, it’s inevitable that the suffering will attract scammers, sometimes called “storm chasers,” companies that target vulnerable communities rebounding from a disaster and other scam artists.

That’s what the Indiana Department of Homeland Security is warning residents about in the 35 counties that received emergency declarations earlier this year after severe flooding. 
These scammers will go door-to-door offering repairs and often do subpar work or don’t complete the work after receiving payment, which they often request up front.

“It’s sad that there are people out there who would take advantage of people who are distraught and have been through a horrible disaster and may be elderly or disabled,” said Erin Rowe, state director of emergency response and recovery for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). “They call them storm chasers and there are some individuals and groups who have been identified.”
“You see a lot of folks in dire straits and they want to get things repaired as soon as possible,” said DHS Executive Director Bryan Langley. “But it’s important to do your due diligence and make sure you protect yourself. The biggest thing we want to communicate is that the threat is out there.”
There are some important precautions to take before any work is agreed on. Getting three written estimates and then researching each of the companies is good practice..."

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