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It’s July: Time To Be Scam-Wise Before, During, And After Storms

It’s July and hurricane season will likely heat up in coming weeks in Florida. That means it’s important not only for you and your family to prepare now for possible storms this summer, but also to learn how to recognize and avoid post-storm scams, price gouging, and disreputable tree-removal services, among others.

After experiencing a hurricane or tropical storm, Floridians working to recover and repair or rebuild homes or businesses are especially vulnerable to scammers. Remember, criminals are looking for people to prey on at a particularly stressful time. That’s the last thing we need.

That’s why it’s so important to know how to avoid such scam artists.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s website http://myfloridalegal. com can help you during storm recovery. This website offers plenty of resources to help residents of all ages protect themselves in the wake of natural disasters.

Part of the Attorney General’s outreach program is called Scams At A Glance: After The Storm. It provides tips for avoiding repair scams, spotting/stopping tree-removal scams, and avoiding fraudulent water testing and treatment. The web page also provides downloadable brochures in English and Spanish.

For Example,
Here Are Some Helpful Hints

Home Repair:

  • Beware of anyone who approaches unsolicited, offering to work at a discount with supplies left from a previous job;
  • Have your storm damage evaluated by the insurer before arranging for repairs to make sure the work will be covered;
  • Get at least three written, itemized estimates on repairs;
  • Research the company and its reputation by going online to the Better Business Bureau at:
  • Verify the contractor’s license at
  • Read and understand the repair contract before you sign.
  • Never pay the full amount of a repair up front; think carefully before paying a large deposit.

Tree Service:

  • Be suspicious of anyone who offers tree removal unsolicited;
  • Get multiple written estimates and find out whether debris removal and stump grinding are included;
  • Research the company on
  • Never pay the full amount up front.

Very important, no matter who you’re dealing with: Ask for proof of identification if someone arrives claiming to be a utility provider representative there to inspect a water line or well.

When we experience a storm or other natural disaster that results in the governor declaring a state of emergency, Florida law prohibits businesses from raising prices for certain goods and services such as food, ice, chemicals, gas, wood, hotel rooms, storage units, medication, and car rentals.

Remember these reminders about protecting yourself this storm season. The Attorney General’s website tells you how to report a hurricane-related scam or price-gouging.

Of course if you believe you are a victim of a scam, call us at the Volusia Sheriff’s Office at 386.248.1777 or 911 in an emergency. We’re here 24/7 to help protect residents throughout our beautiful community.

Enjoy your summer and stay safe,
Sheriff Mike Chitwood