Avoid Scams During Hurricanes

WEST MONROE / EL DORADO -- During hurricane season, scammers try to capitalize off of storm victims' misfortune. The attorney general explains what to look for and how to avoid common disaster scams.

During hurricane season, consumers need to be on the look out for not only storms, but also scams.

According to the Louisiana Attorney General, scams can range from identity theft to home repair scams to con-artists posing as government officials or insurance adjusters.

North Louisiana is an area that coastal evacuees flee to. The attorney general says keep an eye on gas prices for gouging.

"Price gouging occurs when a seller prices goods or services much higher than is reasonable under market conditions," explained Amanda Larkins, the Commerce & Consumer Liaison with the Louisiana Attorney General's office.

You should report any possible price gouging to local law enforcement, the district attorney, or the attorney general. Larkins says it's important to remember that not all price increases are considered price gouging.

"Product shortages, rig & refinery shutdowns, and global markets can all cause the price of goods and services to increase," she mentioned.

Also relevant to northern parts of the state: fake charities.

"We're a generous state and when it comes to a disaster," Larkins pointed out. "We often want to help victims, which is very important. But, just make sure that it is a legitimate charity."

Before donating, search the organization on this website which can determine if that organization is legitimate and tax exempt. And when donating, make checks payable to an organization, never an individual.

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