North Carolina Department of Justice

North Carolina Department of Justice

North Carolina Department of Justice
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In Hurricane Matthew’s wake, look out for impostor scams

Monday, October 10, 2016

After Hurricane Matthew swept up the east coast leaving damage in its wake, many of those affected are in need of assistance. Unfortunately, past natural disasters have shown us that scammers may pose as utility workers, insurance adjusters, or even FEMA officials.
 
Over the weekend, some consumers reported getting phony emails that claimed to come from the power company. The fraudulent emails include a link that promises updated information on power outages but really installs malware on your device. For legitimate update on power outages, call your power company directly.
 
Attorney General Roy Cooper urges North Carolinians affected by Hurricane Matthew to stay vigilant against impostor scams. Remember:
  • Be wary of emails, phone calls, mailers, text messages, or in-person visits from anyone you don’t recognize asking you about storm damage. Instead, contact the insurance company, utility service, or government agency directly if you need help or have questions.
  • Verify the identity of anyone who comes to your home to talk about storm damage. If you get a knock on the door from someone claiming to be with a utility company, insurance group, or government entity to talk about how Hurricane Matthew affected your home, ask to see their official company or agency ID badge. 
  • Avoid anyone who tries to collect a fee to help you apply for disaster assistance. State or federal agencies like FEMA or the U.S. Small Business Administration will never charge you money to apply for relief.
  • Protect your personal information. Never give your credit card or bank account number to someone you don’t know who contacts you, and don’t share personal financial information by email or text message.

If you’re approached by a possible scammer, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM within North Carolina (919-716-6000 if calling from an out of state number) or filing a complaint online at ncdoj.gov.