As people throughout the Carolinas and Virginia start to recover and rebuild after Hurricane Florence, they face a number of scams and challenges, from price gouging to collecting insurance to safety for their pets and themselves.
In an online tip sheet, U.S. PIRG is sharing information and expertise that will help readers, listeners and viewers better understand and protect themselves from those who may prey on them.
“Florence’s victims have enough problems to deal with — sickness, mold, flooded property and other damage. Sadly, they also have to make sure no one is taking advantage of them, as the flood waters recede,” said U.S. PIRG Consumer Watchdog Adam Garber.
Already, just days after Florence made landfall, the North Carolina Attorney General is receiving price gouging complaints. After Hurricane Harvey decimated parts of Texas last year, more than 3,200 homeowners submitted complaints of scams, price gouging and fraud as they tried to repair their homes, according to the AARP.
The following experts are ready to provide advice, on top of the information in our tip sheet:
Adam Garber, [email protected], is U.S. PIRG’s Consumer Watchdog. He works to protect consumers from a wide array of dangers including contaminated food, hazardous products and fraud. He educates the public about looming threats, empowers consumers to protect themselves, and shifts the marketplace to put consumers first.
Ed Mierzwinski, [email protected], oversees U.S. PIRG’s federal consumer program, leading national efforts to improve consumer credit reporting laws, identity theft protection, product safety regulation and more. Ed led a coalition that fought for the establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has worked on airline passenger rights, and a host of other consumer issues.
Mike Litt, [email protected], directs U.S. PIRG’s national campaign to protect consumers from financial predators by defending the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Recently, he has led efforts to strengthen identity theft protections in the wake of the Equifax data breach.
Deirdre Cummings, [email protected], runs MASSPIRG’s consumer protection program. Recently exposed car dealers selling unsafe cars andd regularly works to promote stong consumer protection policies. MASSPIRG also helps consumers resolve disputes or unfair practices for Massachusetts residents. Click here for more on the Massachusetts office and how to reach them.
As more information becomes available, we will update U.S. PIRG’s websites with additional tips for people recovering from Florence. Reach out to our experts to learn more about how people affected by the storm can protect themselves.
Legislative Director, MASSPIRG
Deirdre runs MASSPIRG’s public health, consumer protection and tax and budget programs. Deirdre has led campaigns to improve public records law and require all state spending to be transparent and available on an easy-to-use website, close $400 million in corporate tax loopholes, protect the state’s retail sales laws to reduce overcharges and preserve price disclosures, reduce costs of health insurance and prescription drugs, and more. Deirdre also oversees a Consumer Action Center in Weymouth, Mass., which has mediated 17,000 complaints and returned $4 million to Massachusetts consumers since 1989. Deirdre currently resides in Maynard, Mass., with her family. Over the years she has visited all but one of the state's 351 towns — Gosnold.