AG Eric Schmitt has warned consumers about fraud and price gauging following tornadoes and flooding.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has issued an insurance scam warning following recent ongoing flooding in the state and the tornado in Jefferson City last week.
Schmitt cautioned consumers to be vigilant of scammers when repairs are needed.
Schmitt used his insurance scam warning to express his concern regarding price gauging and scammers on the heels of natural disasters in Missouri. He warned people across the state to be wary of construction fraud, price gauging, and fake charity donation requests. He stated that these types of activities are, unfortunately, quite common after natural disasters.
The attorney general also recommended that anyone who suspects that they have witnessed or experienced fraud should report it to the Consumer Protection Hotline (800-392-8222) or to the Attorney General’s Office website.
The AG suggested in the insurance scam warning that Missouri residents use the following tips
• Price Gouging – Some scammers use the time following natural disasters to take advantage of needs but shortages of food and supplies. They then take the opportunity to overcharge for water and food, gasoline, kerosene, generators, hotel rooms and other basic necessities. This practice is illegal in Missouri.
• Construction Fraud – To avoid being scammed, read all paperwork and contracts carefully, understand each point and make sure every agreement is in writing. Research the company itself before signing anything. Obtain all the company’s contact information. Obtain at least two or three estimates. Never pay in cash. Be wary of anyone whose behaviors are unprofessional, who uses materials left from other jobs or who attempts to skip obtaining certain specific licenses, permits or insurance coverage for the job. Obtain receipts for all materials. Take pictures of the contractor, his or her vehicle including the license plate and every step of the completion of the work. Contact your insurance company to make sure all work you expect to be covered is being carried out according to your insurer’s requirements.
• Charity Fraud – Be wary of charities with names similar to – but slightly different from – legitimate charities. Don’t commit to donating money requested over the phone. Avoid making donations in cash. If using a check, make it out to an organization, not an individual person. If you’re not sure about donations for which you’ve been solicited, look up the charity’s contact information and contact them there to find out if the solicitation was legitimate.