Florida law enforcement warns of possible scams after Hurricane Ian

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Hurricane Ian aftermath in Florida

by Collier County Sheriff’s Office,

As Collier County recovers from the effects of Hurricane Ian, Sheriff Kevin Rambosk is urging the public to be aware of the potential for scams.

It is not uncommon in the wake of a nationally recognized disaster for criminals to pose as employees of government agencies, utility companies and insurance companies in an attempt to swindle residents.

Sheriff Rambosk encourages Collier County residents to be aware of impostors who might be in the area or contacting you by phone or email.

Please use the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of such a ploy:

FEMA
Be wary of individuals going door to door and claiming to be with FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Ask to see some form of identification or call the organization directly and confirm the employee’s name and title.

Donations
If you have been solicited for a donation to a charity, ask for the solicitor’s name as well as the charity’s exact name, street address, phone number and website address – then call the charity directly to confirm the person asking for funds is an employee or volunteer.

Whether making a donation by cash or with a credit card, request a receipt including the charity’s name, street address and phone number.

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A legitimate charity will not ask for personal information or credit card numbers by text.

Be suspicious of anyone going door to door as they may be casing residences to commit thefts.

Contractors and inspectors
When working with home contractors, use local, licensed contractors who are backed by reliable references.

Demand that those contractors carry general liability insurance and workers’ compensation.

Do not pay more than half of the costs of repairs up front.

Housing inspectors will already have each applicant’s registration number and a FEMA inspector will never ask for this.

FEMA inspectors never ask for personal information or banking information.

We realize this is a difficult time for many people affected by Hurricane Ian. Please be patient and use caution when contacted by anyone. Verify who they are and what service they are offering.

If you believe you have been a victim, please call our non-emergency line to report the crime. 239-252-9300.