December 7, 2023

Devastating hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, and fires, across many parts of the U.S. leave people vulnerable. Aging parents, often far away from family, are especially at risk. When disaster strikes, scammers see opportunity. The waters after Ian haven’t even receded, and ripoff artists are already scheming how to take advantage of people. They move fast. They can get to your loved ones while they are still dazed and feeling lost. Scammers see confuses folks as a golden opportunity to get money. The Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning of what to watch for and how to avoid the opportunists who are targeting your aging loved ones and others.

The essence of some points the FTC cautions against are these things:

Clean-up and repair scams. Watch out for unlicensed contractors and scammers who appear with promises of quick repairs, clean-up, and debris removal. Some may demand upfront payment and not do the work, claim you’ll get a discount but quote outrageous prices, or lack needed skills. If your aging parents are not in the frame of mind to be suspicious of sudden offers of help, adult children can assist fending off scammers. If your elders or you want to hire anyone, do these things the FTC recommends:

Check them out. Ask for IDs, licenses, proof of insurance, and references. Get all their contact information and match it with what you can see on the internet. Contractors’ licensing boards list licensees…

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