April 2, 2021
by Sana Chriss
Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC
According to the National Weather Service, the peak severe weather season is during the spring months of March, April, and May. Already this season, we’ve seen heavy rains, flooding, and tornados in southern areas like Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and East Texas. And we know that scammers follow not just the headlines, but also the storm fronts.
Handling post-disaster scammers is never easy. And getting ready for the severe weather that’s sure to come can be a challenge. But both are even harder due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit the FTC’s site, Dealing with Weather Emergencies, to start planning your response. You’ll find ideas about how to:
- Prepare for weather emergencies — by signing-up for weather alerts, organizing your finances, and developing an evacuation plan.
- Avoid disaster-related scams — by watching out for clean-up and home repair scams, imposters pretending to be government officials, and phony job and rental listings.
- Regain your financial footing — by working with your insurance company, employer, and benefit providers to understand next steps.
Share these tips with friends, family, and community organizations by getting a free one-page customizable handout at Picking Up the Pieces after a Disaster. Add your local consumer protection and emergency service contacts and post copies for people to download.
If you or anyone you know needs to report a disaster-related scam, visit Reportfraud.ftc.gov.