Hurricane Irma ripped through our state this week, leaving a path of destruction that will take months to repair. Millions are without electricity and fuel. Thousands more suffered home damage or flooding. As Floridians begin to pick up the pieces, they should be wary of common scams that arise after natural disasters—including: debris-removal, tree-service, home-repair, disaster-relief and water-treatment scams.
To guard against scams, research a company or contractor, ask for references and get multiple quotes before signing a contract. Beware of any unsolicited offers or contractors claiming they can perform repairs at a discount with leftover supplies from another job. Never pay the full amount up front and do not make final payment until completely satisfied with the work performed.
Additionally, the state of emergency remains in effect statewide and that means Florida’s price gouging law still applies to anyone selling essential commodities or services. Anyone who suspects price gouging or any scam should call my office at (866) 9NO-SCAM or file a complaint online at MyFloridaLegal.com.
Throughout this state of emergency, safety has been our top priority. Tragically, eight lives were lost at a Florida nursing home in Irma’s aftermath. This tragedy is under investigation, but it highlights how fragile life is—especially for the very young and very old. If you know someone without electricity, please check on them regularly and if a life is in danger, call 911 immediately. Working together we can protect each other and rebuild our communities.