On the heels of two of the worst natural disasters in recent memory, scammers are attempting to capitalize on tragedy by playing on homeowners’ fears. These scammers are placing robocalls to victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, informing the homeowners that their flood insurance premiums are past due and asked to bring payments up to date. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) advises anyone who is concerned whether their premiums are up to date to contact their insurance agent. Do not respond to the robocall. Instead, report the robocall to the FTC.

Another scam reported by the Federal Trade Commission reports that several businesses in North Carolina have been accused of masquerading as law firms in order to collect outstanding payday loans that either don’t exist or that the business had no right to collect. Operating under names that might sound like a law firm, such as Lombardo, Daniels & Moss; and Barron, Gibson & Phillips; these businesses have collected in excess of $2 million over the course of four years.

In order to avoid these types of scams, consumers need to know that a legitimate debt collector must identify, in writing, the amount of the debt and the name of the creditor. This is called a “validation notice.” If you have not received a notice, the FTC says, it is a likely indication that the caller is a scammer. If you did not receive such a notice, request one from the caller. Do not agree to pay the debt over the phone, and don’t believe the caller is legitimate because they have some of your personal information.

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