After natural disasters, victims, including seniors, often become targets of man-made disasters in the form of rip-offs by con artists pretending to offer help with rebuilding or clean-up.
A bulletin from the American Association of Retired Persons and the National Association of Attorneys General gives examples of rip-offs and scams and offers advice on legal options available to victims of such scams.In one case, after the 1994 Los Angeles earthquake, an 84-year-old woman reported receiving a call from someone claiming to be a federal disaster assistance worker.
The elderly woman signed papers sent to her after the conversation, believing them to be an application for assistance. Instead the papers were an $18,000 mortgage for what was in reality about $5,000 in home repair work.
Insurance complaints, home repair rip-offs and charitable solicitations are among the main problem areas, the bulletin reports.
Those interested in getting a copy of the report should write to AARP Fulfillment, 601 E St. N.W., Washington, DC 20049. Request publication No. D15942.