Avoiding Scams after a Natural Disaster

Times of natural disaster tend to be when home insurance scams occur. This is because this is a period in which a lot of people are making claims on their damaged property. The insurance company is busy and there are a lot of people who need to be served quickly. Unfortunately, there are those who will take advantage of a natural disaster and file claims that are bogus just so they can get a large payout.

When bogus claims are filed, the ultimate result is increased insurance rates on things like flood coverage for customers. The insurance company has to compensate for the money that has been taken from them. But it's not only insurance companies that are scammed during natural disaster recovery. You can be scammed as well.

It is unfortunate that individuals and insurance companies have to be so cautions when dealing with the hectic nature of a natural disaster. It is this cautiousness that helps a lot of people save money. Criminals are also unsuccessful when met with caution.

Scams by Individuals

Scams committed by individuals will cost you, the customer, money. Any time that the insurance company is scammed, they have to pass the cost on to their customers. They don't want to have to do this, but this is something that they can't help.

When it comes to a natural disaster, one of the most common scams is when misleading information is relayed to the insurance company. This misleading information can be in the form of a fraudulent statement of loss or a bogus repair estimate. This is one of the reasons why insurance companies now send their own insurance adjusters or contractors to the home to assess the damage.

Nevertheless, when the insurance company doesn't do this and the customer is left to their own devices to find someone to estimate repairs, they may make a deal to provide the estimator with compensation for deception. And then there are actually companies that will provide estimates and will tell the customer in a nonchalant way that they will provide high estimates if they get a portion of the money. A customer may not realize this is wrong because a business person is telling them it's okay. This is an example of taking a legitimate loss and turning into a gain that is illegal.

Your Identity

Most of the time, scams are committed by someone who wants to obtain your information. In other words, they steal your identity so that they can achieve their own financial gain. This is one of the most common forms of insurance fraud that occurs when a natural disaster strikes. These individuals pretend they are a representative from the insurance company at a time in which you are vulnerable and then they obtain your personal information.

If you are asked for credit card information, your social security number, or any other type of information over the phone, do not fall for it. Your insurance company will not call and ask you for this information over the phone. And if you do receive such a call, you need to contact your insurer and tell them what has occurred. That way they are aware that someone is trying to scam their customers and can ensure something is done about it.

It is unfortunate that suspicious characters tend to reveal themselves when a natural disaster strikes. They do so because they see a way in which they can make money off of the misfortunes of others. If you are found by one of these individuals, go with what makes sense. If something doesn't feel right, then it probably isn't right - and this is one of the most important parts of avoiding scams after a natural disaster.

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