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Experts warn of flood clean up scams

In the wake of natural disasters, many emergency organizations rush to the area to assist with the clean up and rebuilding but what also rushes to the area are scammers.

Posted: Apr 10, 2019 12:06 PM
Updated: Apr 10, 2019 2:55 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) In the wake of natural disasters, many emergency organizations rush to the area to assist with the clean up and rebuilding but what also rushes to the area are scammers.

After last month's historic flooding, it is important for you to be aware of any possible scams that claim to help you clean up.

"The most common one that happens all the time is in the rebuilding process," Jody Dickhaut, with the Adventist Community Service Disaster Response Team said. "If you give us a deposit now, we'll get you going right away so they'll give the deposit and think they are being helped and then they never show up again."

Experts say that scammers are trying to figure out how to get money from people too distracted by tragedy.

"I don't understand it," Cindy Wells, a fields specialist at the Buchanan County University of Missouri Extension office said. "Here we have fellow human beings who are needing help and they are already down and now you are kicking them while they are down."

Flood victims like Pam Burley, whose house was damaged by flooding, says that the she doesn't want to fall victim to any scams.

Burley was in attendance of the multi-agency resource center on Tuesday in St. Joseph.

"I'm trying to get help to find a place to stay and get help with everything," Burley said.

If you are needing assistance following a disaster, reach out to the proper resources, like local disaster relief agencies.

"That's the first place to check, the local emergency manager in the community," Dickhaut said.

Also, don't say yes too quickly if someone offers to do contract work for you.

"Don't be afraid to check them out," Wells said. "It may take a few extra minutes but those may be worth it."

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