Natural Disaster Insurance Scams in the Knoxville Area- Protect Yourself
Don't Let a Wildfire Burn Up Your Money
After a disaster, everyone involved is looking to put it behind them and try to rebuild their life as quickly as possible. This rush to get back to normalcy leaves victims of a disaster open to being victimized again in an insurance scam.
One of the most common scams is pretending to help speed up the process, rush you into making a quick decision. From Knoxville to Holston Hills the con-men (or women) claim to be a private organization that helps victims through the insurance filing process and speed things along. They deceive you about being able to decrease the time by half or even more. They succeed at this because they basically dangle the victim's own insurance settlement on a much shorter string.
Another common scam is claiming to be from a federal agency. If anyone states they are from FEMA or the SBA (Small Business Association) and tries to direct you to one company, even SERVPRO, it's very likely they're not with either agency. Neither is allowed to make a recommendation.
The best way to combat these scams is to stay alerted and get all the information possible on every person that contacts you. There are three key pieces that you should obtain from anyone who calls or speaks to you in person:
1) Business License - Every agency, contractor or other private organization has to have a license to operate. Ask for it and if the individual won't give it to you or claims that they have some type of special agreement, hang up the phone immediately or close your door in their face. Out of state contractors must register with the State of Tennessee.
2) Physical Address - If someone calls you or leaves a business card that only has a website, be suspicious. Every local agency should have a brick and mortar address. In some rare cases, a local representative may be operating out of their home. If that is the claim, then you should get the address of the regional or national office.
3) Phone Number - Not a cell phone if possible, but a land line that leads to an administrative office where you can talk to a supervisor.
4) If the "contractor" states that he will work "under the table," steer clear of him. Never do a cash deal or down payment during a time of emergency. Step back, evaluate your circumstances and use common sense.
Once you have this information, contact your local or state government and verify that everything is legitimate. Only after you do this, should you listen to any offer.
SERVPRO of Rocky Hill/Sequoyah Hills/South Knoxville is fully licensed in every state we operate in and have decades of experience dealing with both natural disasters and supporting you with insurance claims. Call us today at (865) 862-8907; we're here to help.