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AG Nessel Reissues Consumer Alerts Following Latest Round of Storms

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is reminding residents to watch out for common after-the-disaster scams as several municipalities in west Michigan are dealing with cleanup and damage following severe weather.

Last night, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for the counties of Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, Branch and Cass, due to damage caused by severe thunderstorms and tornadoes on Tuesday.

As residents begin to address the issues that arise from downed trees, power losses and other storm damage, AG Nessel is reminding Michiganders about common scams that often follow after disaster strikes.

“Unfortunately, bad actors look at storm cleanup as an opportunity to take advantage of victims who are desperate to repair damage right away,” Nessel said. “I continue to urge Michiganders to do their research before making any major decisions that will impact their home or business.”

Nessel encourages impacted residents to always take the following steps when they’re ready to start rebuilding and before signing any contracts or placing deposits:

  • Get in touch with your insurance company,
  • Speak to a local licensed professional,
  • Review credentials and references,
  • Get more than one written estimate, and
  • Ask for a contract and read it carefully.

Attorney General Nessel's Government Imposter Scams Consumer Alert educates Michiganders on ways bad actors may try to take advantage of people who are cleaning up after severe weather, and reminds residents that imposters may claim to be anyone ranging from a government official to your local power or insurance provider.

In particular, criminals will contact consumers and tell them they have been selected to receive government funding to assist with repairs, or that if they pay an early deposit, they may receive priority standing for needed repairs. In order to receive the alleged benefit, the person will be asked to share personal or bank information.

Nessel’s Disaster Scams Consumer Alert provides information on how to identify and stop other common post-disaster scams. 

The Better Business Bureau is also a helpful resource to research local companies and contractors when navigating repairs and cleanup.

While tree services are not licensed, it’s important consumers vet them as thoroughly as other contractors and request written quotes outlining the total project cost before signing any agreements. This will help consumers avoid potential price gouging and other predatory business practices, especially during emergencies.

Another common scam following severe weather is the Disaster Relief Charity Scam.  AG Nessel encourages residents who want to help to use the following tips to ensure they are giving wisely:

  • Be wary of messages from unknown organizations. Give to organizations that are well known for giving disaster relief. 
  • Avoid social media ads to raise money for victims. If you wish to give online, use the charity’s website instead of going through an unknown link.
  • Research the charity and find out if they are registered to receive money (solicit) in Michigan.
  • Don’t be pressured. Genuine charities give you time to decide when and what’s right for you. 
  • Be careful when places say you already gave to them. Especially if you don't remember donating. 
  • Avoid alleged charities that ask for alternate forms of payment. Real charities never ask for wire transfers, gift cards, or other non-traditional payments.
  • Donate to trusted places even if you don’t receive a new offer. 

To file a complaint with the Attorney General, or get additional information, contact:

Consumer Protection Team 
P.O. Box 30213 
Lansing, MI 48909 
Fax: 517-241-3771 
Toll free: 877-765-8388 
Online complaint form

Your connection to consumer protection is just a click or phone call away. The Department provides a library of resources for consumers to review anytime online on a variety of topics. Nessel’s Consumer Alerts, which cover a wide range of topics, can also be found directly on the Department’s dedicated consumer protection site.  To report extended power outages or inquire about overdue outage credits, the department provides a Power Outage Feedback and Inquiry form for all residents.


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