Michigan AG Provides Tips to Avoid Scams Following Severe Storm

(Photo via Marek Studzinski on Unsplash)

By Karel Vega

August 25, 2023

MICHIGAN— Attorney General Dana Nessel is reminding residents not to rush into home repairs after a devastating storm Thursday night caused widespread damage and left thousands without power.

Nessel said that some scammers exploit people’s urge to return to normalcy. Here’s what to do:

  • Take a breath: Absorb the situation before making any sudden home repair decisions. Don’t listen to anyone who says they can fix your home right away, but only if you hire them immediately.
  • Talk with your insurance: Review your homeowner’s insurance policy, then contact your insurance company to determine what damage is covered. Make sure you ask any questions you have and write down their responses.
  • Do your homework: Before hiring a contractor, make sure they are licensed, insured, and recommended by friends and local reviews.
  • Pay smart: Get everything in writing, including any promises, quotes, and expectations. Payments should be done via credit card for added protection and NEVER in cash or entirely up-front.

“Education and awareness are the best tools we have to fight against bad actors looking to take advantage of those experiencing hardship,” Nessel said in a statement. “Our Consumer Protection team is committed to investigating complaints.  I encourage people to contact our office if you believe a business or individual is engaging in fraudulent behavior in response to the severe weather.”

Nessel also asks that people stay safe by following any local emergency orders.

Two major safety concerns following last night’s weather are downed power lines and flooded areas. Anybody who sees downed lines or poles should stay at least 30 feet away from them and report the problem to the local energy utility.

Flooded areas should also be treated with caution. Never wade or drive into a flooded area since the actual depth of the water may not be immediately clear.

More tips for recovering from a disaster are available here.

Author

  • Karel Vega

    Coming from a long background in public radio, Karel Vega strives to find stories that inform and inspire local communities. Before joining The ‘Gander, Karel served as managing editor at WKAR, the NPR affiliate in East Lansing, Michigan.

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