BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Hurricane season is officially underway and Attorney General Jeff Landry is urging Louisiana residents to get prepared.
Landry said, “Hurricane season can be a devastating time in Louisiana with damage caused not only by Mother Nature but also by con artists trying to profit from the storms. So I encourage the people of our State to prepare for hurricanes and to learn about natural disaster scams.”
Attorney General Landry is encouraging everyone to consider the following when preparing for the 2021 Hurricane Season:
- Know The Plan. Become familiar with evacuation routes and shelter locations.
- Protect Documents. Keep important documents in a safe place and consider creating password-protected digital copies.
- Be Covered. Review insurance policies, confirm they are current, and update if necessary.
- Do Preventive Maintenance. Declutter drains and gutters, install check valves in plumbing to prevent backups and ensure hurricane shutters are operable.
- Plan Ahead. Maintain necessary supplies for at least three days and keep in mind each family member’s specific needs, including the needs of pets.
- Prep Your Vehicle. Have cars in good working condition; and when a hurricane is near, keep gas tanks full and vehicles stocked with emergency supplies and changes of clothes.
- Communicate. Develop a communications plan with family members if power is lost and remember that text messages may be more reliable and faster than phone calls during disasters.
Landry also issued a warning about scams in the aftermath of hurricanes and offers tips to help combat them:
- Identity Theft. Safeguard personal information in the event of an evacuation. Bring sensitive personal documents or put them in a secure, waterproof location.
- Home Repair Claims. Check credentials with the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors and contractor’s insurance companies. Get at least three written estimates and make sure each contractor bids on exactly the same work. Do not agree to a large down payment. Get a contract in writing and keep a copy of it in a safe place. Take a selfie with your contractor. Pay by check or money order and keep all receipts.
- Price Gouging. Report non-verifiable market fluctuation price increases of goods and services during states of emergency to local law enforcement.
- Phony Emergency Response Officials. Verify people posing as government officials or insurance adjusters by asking for proper identification.
- Fake Charities. Do not donate to any charity that asks for cash or wired donations and does not provide proof contribution would be tax-deductible. Beware of scammers who create fake charities during natural disasters.
If you believe that you or someone you know has fallen victim to a hurricane scam to please report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud at (866) 720-5721 or visit www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.