Hurricane Fraud Scammers Use Fundraising Donations, Used Cars

QUINCY (WGEM) – People are taking advantage of Hurricane Ian’s misfortune and trying to make a profit.

The two scams that are popular right now are fundraising and flooded car sales.

The Quincy Police Department said don’t trust every hurricane relief fundraiser you see.

Some people or businesses will set up hurricane relief donations but end up keeping the money for themselves, a common scam seen on the internet or social media.

“You don’t know where that money is leaking to, so you really have to do your own research and see if this is a legitimate source that they’re going to get the money from and it’s going to go to people. they really need it,” QPD Deputy Chief of Operations Michael Tyler said.

FBI Springfield offered some advice to people considering donating to a charity.

  • Do a little research when it comes to donations. Read reviews, state charity regulators, and charity reports and ratings on the Better Business Bureau.
  • Donate to charities or groups whose work you know and trust.
  • Never donate via gift cards or wire transfer. Credit cards are safer.
  • After the donation, review your financial accounts to ensure no additional funds are deducted or charged.
  • Don’t believe your caller ID. Scammers often spoof agency phone numbers. It’s always best to research the organization’s phone number and call directly to verify. Don’t feel pressured or rushed to donate. If so, it may be a scam.
  • Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know about. These could be attempts to download viruses onto your computer or cell phone. Manually type links instead of clicking on them.
  • Beware of charity names that sound too similar to well-known charities, as well as email addresses that do not match the charity requesting donations.
  • Check the URL of the charity’s website. Most legitimate charity websites use .org, not .com.
  • Government workers are required to carry official identification and show it upon request. Take a close look at any identification you see and call the agency directly to confirm a worker’s identity if you’re unsure.
  • Do not provide personal information without confirming the legitimacy of the person contacting you.

Flooded cars are also hitting the market in the US.

Usually after hurricanes, people will try to sell their cars and cover up past damage.

“Ask the dealership what the story is and I hope they’re being honest with you and if you don’t think they’re being honest, maybe go somewhere else,” Tyler said.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau said thousands of cars suffer flood damage when hurricanes hit.

After people present this damage to their insurance companies, they try to sell the damaged car.

These cars drive around the country as dealers try to fix them and some may even try to hide the damage.

Kelley Blue Book also offers advice when selling or buying a car that could be flooded:

  • check the trunk. Look inside for signs of debris or water. Feel the carpet, seats, and other areas if they feel damp and look for stains or rust under the seats. Freshly shampooed cars and rust are not always a good sign. Also, pay attention to the electrical components (windshield wipers and air conditioning). Make sure there are no strange smells.
  • Check the engine and exterior. Flooded headlights or a visible waterline should trigger an immediate red flag. Watch for any signs of debris and corrosion and wear on electrical components.
  • Look under the car. Keep an eye out for any debris, rust, and metal flaking.

To read more: Kelly’s Blue Book

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