Dallas, TX (PRWEB) May 17, 2013
After tornadoes and strong storms swept through North Texas the night of May 15, 2013, consumers and businesses are picking up and beginning to deal with the damage. Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns that it would not be surprising to find scams popping up to take advantage of those in need as well as those who want to help.
“Right after a disaster, scammers swing into action to target vulnerable consumers who are trying to cope with the aftermath,” said Jeannette Kopko, spokesperson for BBB serving Dallas and Northeast Texas. “After the North Texas tornadoes, BBB warns consumers to be on guard against online scams, roofing and home repair scams, and phony appeals for disaster relief.”
Online scams could include phishing and smishing using news of the event to get attention and steal information or download malware.
Roofing and home repair businesses often walk the neighborhoods after a storm offering their services. Some may be “storm chasers” from out of town who take money up front but do unsatisfactory work or leave jobs unfinished – or not started at all. After last year’s tornadoes, some homeowners paid thousands of dollars but are still without finished roofs.
As relief efforts get underway and consumers look for ways to help victims, scammers use fake websites or social media accounts to solicit donations. After the Newtown shootings, one website was shut down after the family objected that the victim’s name was used without permission.
BBB offers these tips on dealing with the tornadoes’ aftermath:
Phishing, Smishing, and Spoofing
Roof Repairs and Roofing Contractors
Carpet and Rug Cleaners
Water Damage Restoration
Contractors - General
Hauling and Clean Up Services, and Debris Removal
BBB serving Dallas and Northeast Texas is an independent, non-profit business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair business practices and works for trust in the marketplace. BBB helps consumers find and recommend businesses, brands, and charities they can trust. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization's Standards For Trust. BBB provides services for both BBB Accredited Businesses and non-accredited businesses. BBB services include BBB Business Reviews on businesses, lists of BBB Accredited Businesses by category, customer complaint resolution services, advertising review for truth in advertising, and tips and alerts for consumers and for businesses. BBB serving Dallas and Northeast Texas was founded in 1920 and is one of 113 BBBs serving the U.S. and Canada. Last year, people relied on BBB for Business Reviews, consumer tips, and scam alerts more than 124.5 million times. For more, start at http://www.bbb.org.