It’s the point of interest of this 12 months’s Contractor Fraud Consciousness Week
Disaster & Flood
For its third annual Contractor Fraud Consciousness Week, the Nationwide Insurance coverage Crime Bureau (NICB) has chosen to focus on the difficulty of post-disaster contractor fraud.
In response to NICB, roughly 10% of the $92 billion disaster losses suffered by insurers in 2021 went in direction of post-disaster fraud.
Responding to the affect of the difficulty, the group has devoted its newest anti-fraud initiative to educating owners on how one can safeguard themselves from unhealthy actors within the aftermath of pure disasters.
“Catastrophic occasions affect hundreds of thousands of Individuals yearly,” mentioned NICB president and CEO David J. Glawe. “From hurricanes to floods and every little thing in between, these occasions are sometimes scary and life altering. However what makes these occasions even worse is what occurs afterward as owners affected by these pure disasters are focused by dishonest contractors.”
Stopping post-disaster contractor fraud
As a part of the initiative, NICB has supplied suggestions to assist owners navigate the contractor choice course of. These embody exercising warning when approached by people providing unsolicited repairs, being cautious of contractors who try and rush owners into making choices and remaining vigilant in opposition to contractors submitting fraudulent change orders to inflate prices or prolong contracts with out consent.
“Typically earlier than the flood waters recede or rescue operations are full, unscrupulous contractors prey upon people who’re at their most susceptible,” mentioned Glawe. “Earlier than hiring anybody, name your insurance coverage firm first. For those who didn’t request it, then it’s best to reject it.”
Moreover, owners are suggested to not imagine claims of presidency endorsement by contractors, noting that the Federal Emergency Administration Company (FEMA) doesn’t assist particular person contractors or mortgage corporations.
Within the course of of choosing a contractor, NICB has suggested owners to be selective and search suggestions from reliable sources equivalent to household, pals, and neighbors. On-line analysis can be advisable, together with acquiring not less than three written estimates for the work to facilitate correct comparisons.
As a part of this step, owners ought to test the credentials of contractors with the Higher Enterprise Bureau or the state lawyer basic’s workplace to make sure there are not any excellent complaints.
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