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For Storm Victims: How to Avoid Becoming a Scam Victim

Waynesville flooding
In Waynesville, 15 inches of rain fell in a 48-hour period/Credit: Facebook-Christian Santos

Amid the emotional and financial support that can emerge following a natural disaster, also comes the likelihood of scams to a devastated region. As KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports, the recent flooding in southern Missouri carries a reminder to be vigilant of potential cons.

I’m sure you’ve heard the warning: If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. But perhaps it’s easier for someone on the outside looking in to identify. What about those who’ve lost their homes due to heavy rains and have no place to stay?

“When you’re in the middle of a situation where your home’s been destroyed, or something like that, and somebody comes along with this offer to help you, it’s real easy to get caught up in the moment and cause yourself to be taken advantage of,” Mills said.

Judy Mills is the CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Southwest Missouri. She says take time to review the company offering to help, noting that if the offer is good today, it’ll be good tomorrow.

“Another red flag that seems to always pop up; many of these people are transient and they are not, maybe not from the area – they travel behind these storms. So check them out. Where’s the company located, are they properly located in your locale?”

Mills says that so far the BBB has not had reports of any illegitimate business since the flooding, but that she’s never surprised at what types of scams emerge from these situations.

You can learn more about how to protect yourself by visiting the Better Business Bureau’s website.