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Utah Better Business Bureau warns of flood-related scams

Zion National Park Flooding (2).jpg
Posted at 8:59 AM, Jul 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-30 11:03:56-04

MOAB, Utah — The Utah Better Business Bureau is warning residents of south Utah to beware of scams related to cleanup after flooding.

Areas like Cedar City and Springdale have experienced property damage because of torrential rains and flooding in recent weeks.

READ: Why were drought designations dialed back slightly in southern Utah?

The BBB warns of high-pressure tactics from contractors and door-to-door salespeople who may try to take advantage of people.

The BBB also encourages people to have important documents, like birth certificates and social security cards, backed up in a safe, high and dry place. They also say to have your insurance information handy.

READ: Moab streets, power lines, trees damaged after flooding

Watch Out for Red Flags

- Officials with government disaster assistance agencies do not call or text asking for financial account information, and there is no fee required to apply for or get disaster assistance from FEMA or the Small Business Administration. Anyone claiming to be a federal official who asks for money is an scammer.

- Never reveal any personal information unless you've confirmed you're dealing with a legitimate official. Workers and agents who knock on doors of residences are required to carry official identification and show it upon request, and they may not ask for or accept money.

Avoid insurance scams

- If you get a phone call about an insurance claim or policy, don't give out any personal information or agree to any payment until you can independently verify that the call is legitimate. If the caller says they're from your insurance company, hang up and contact your agent or the company directly using the number on your account statement.

- Contractors and home improvement companies may also call claiming to be partners with your insurance provider. Never give policy numbers, coverage details, or other personal information out to companies with whom you have not entered into a contract.

Disaster relief charity scams

- Donate only to trusted, well-known charities. Beware of scammers who create fake charities during natural disasters. Always verify a charity's legitimacy through its official website. If you have doubts, you can check with Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance.

- Do not open suspicious emails. If you receive a suspicious email requesting donations or other assistance, do not click on any links or open any attachments. Scammers regularly use email for phishing attacks and to spread malware.

- Verify information in social media posts. Double-check any solicitation for charitable donations before you give. Crowd-funding websites often host individual requests for help but they are not always vetted by the site or other sources.