Follow guidelines to avoid disaster fraud


5WASHINGTON — The Federal Bureau of Investigation reminds the public to use caution when making donations in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Unfortunately, criminals can exploit these tragedies for their own gain by sending fraudulent e-mails and creating phony websites designed to solicit contributions. Additionally, home repair and cleanup frauds are especially common after natural disasters.

Disaster fraud is defined as an activity with the purpose to defraud individuals or the government after a natural or man-made catastrophe. Some common examples include unscrupulous operators who persuade disaster fraud victims to claim more damages than actually occurred, contractors who collect money to repair damaged property but never complete the work, and homeowners who in-crease damage estimates for personal gain.


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