Beware of scammers after a hurricane

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As the Florida panhandle braces for Hurricane Michael, many people in Southwest Florida are digging into their pockets to help. But before you donate, you need to do some homework. Crime prevention specialist Heather Turco explains what to watch out for to avoid getting scammed.

If you think someone is trying to scam you, call the Lee County fraud prevention hotline: (239) 258-3292.

The Better Business Bureau receives hundreds of complaints every year concerning subpar work performed by contractors, and encourages consumers to take the time to properly research contractors to avoid creating a bigger problem.

Natural disasters can bring out the best in people, as strangers reach out to help others in need. Unfortunately, the aftermath of a crisis typically also brings out many types of scams and unlicensed contractors who take advantage of those who have been victimized.

Better Business Bureau is warning local residents that may be affected by Hurricane Michael to beware of storm chasers and out-of-town contractors soliciting business. It is common for out-of-town storm chasers to solicit business after storms; read more about how to protect yourself. Disaster victims should never feel pressured to make a decision by an unknown contractor.

Consumers should Start With Trust and look for the BBB Accredited Business Seal; these companies are screened, monitored, licensed and trusted. Storm chasers may not have proper licensure for your area and may offer quick fixes or make big promises to which they won’t deliver.”

Your BBB offers resources for Hurricane Michael victims at

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