Hurricane Florence will be pounding the East Coast this weekend. While it doesn't really effect us here in Iowa, you may feel compelled to help your fellow human. If you do, you don't want to fall for a scam. Here's some tips:

  • Fake rental listings. If you just lost your house, you're probably pretty desperate.  But make sure you've seen the rental in person before you hand over any money.  Don't provide important details like your bank account or credit card info over the Internet. Definitely don't wire anyone money.
  • Fake contractors. Check for a license and proof of insurance. Be wary of anyone who says they have a FEMA 'endorsement,' since FEMA doesn't certify contractors. Oh, and if disaster hits closer to home, never pay for work up front.
  • Fake charities. It sucks but there actually ARE shady people and websites out there presenting themselves as legitimate charity organizations. If a charity organization reaches out to you, don't be afraid to ask them for more details. And if you're still on the fence, check out the National Association of State Charity Officials at nasconet.org, which has legitimate relief organizations in your state.
  • Clickbait. False news stories and photos are too common in today's social media world. So before you share something on Facebook, take a minute or two to verify the facts are correct.