Friday, September 30, 2022
Whenever a disaster like Hurricane Ian strikes, scammers look to rip people off. Before a hurricane strikes, we often hear about excessive pricing for products such as food, water, groceries, generators, and other emergency supplies. After the hurricane passes, our office often receives complaints about tree removal and disaster clean up scams. Scammers will look to take advantage of people’s desperation with pressure sales tactics, unfairly high prices, or incomplete projects.
During any hurricane, the most important thing is your physical safety. Follow local guidance to help protect yourself and your family. In addition, you can follow these tips to steer clear of Hurricane Ian scams:
- Watch out for price gouging and report it to our office. North Carolina is under a state of emergency, which means our state’s price gouging law is in effect. If businesses charge illegally excessive prices during a time of crisis, our office will hold them accountable.
- Be skeptical of anyone who comes to your home offering time-limited assistance. If an offer is only good “now or never,” it’s probably not a good deal. Get recommendations from friends or neighbors and only do business with companies you trust or have vetted.
- Get a written estimate and compare bids. Gathering multiple quotes on a job can help ensure you don’t pay too much. Check the company’s credentials and contact our office or the Better Business Bureau to learn about any complaints against the contractor.
- Never pay up front for work. Make sure you are satisfied with the completed work before you pay. While some projects may require a down payment, do not pay without a written contract. Use a credit card if possible. Credit cards may give you some protection if the job isn’t completed properly.
If you believe that you have been the victim of a scam, contact our office’s Consumer Protection Division at ncdoj.gov/file-a-complaint or 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.