The web Browser you are currently using is unsupported, and some features of this site may not work as intended. Please update to a modern browser such as Chrome, Firefox or Edge to experience all features Michigan.gov has to offer.
Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services Urges Michiganders to Protect Themselves From Fraud Schemes Following Natural Disaster
May 24, 2022
Media Contact: Laura Hall, 517-290-3779, DIFSemail@example.com
Consumer Hotline: 877-999-6442, Michigan.gov/DIFScomplaints
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 24, 2022
(LANSING, MICH) Following the tornado in Gaylord, the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) are urging Michiganders to protect themselves from criminals that may attempt to take advantage of those impacted by a natural disaster. After a storm, unscrupulous purported adjusters, contractors, and other solicitors often go door-to-door to fraudulently offer services, such as debris cleanup or building repairs, that will not be completed, or may be completed with shoddy materials or workmanship. These scams can ultimately cost victims thousands of dollars.
“Impacted residents are already under tremendous stress and, unfortunately, they also need to be on the lookout for bad actors seeking to make a quick buck in the wake of a tragedy,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “Don’t let a contractor or other service provider rush you into signing a contract for repairs, be sure to ask for the contractor’s business card and license, and always contact your insurer before hiring someone. If you suspect fraud, immediately contact local law enforcement, your insurer, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau at 1-800-TEL-NICB.”
“Disasters can bring out the best in people as they rush to help those in need. Unfortunately, disasters also attract predatory contractors looking to defraud and deceive disaster victims,” said David Glawe, president and CEO of the National Insurance Crime Bureau. “After most disasters, these shameful contractors use well-rehearsed, predatory practices to exploit stressed disaster victims when they are most vulnerable. Time and again, our investigators have seen disaster victims fall prey to these scams, making a payment in advance, and then the contractor leaves without completing the work that was promised.”
Common signs that a contractor or other service provider may try to take advantage of disaster victims include:
- Rushing homeowners into signing a contract for their services.
- Stating they work for “the government” or specific insurers “all the time.”
- Asking for payment in advance or in cash.
- Refusing to provide the homeowner with their licensure information or other forms of identification.
To protect against unscrupulous contractors, before hiring anyone always:
- Ask for the service provider’s business card and license.
- Contact your insurer before hiring a contractor.
- Ask for a quote and timetable for the project to be completed.
- Get the contract in writing with no blanks on the form that could be filled in later without your knowledge.
- Remember that adjusters are paid by the insurance company and should never ask homeowners for any payment for their services that are covered by their homeowners or renter’s policy.
Michiganders who have questions or concerns about their insurance coverage can contact the DIFS toll-free hotline 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 877-999-6442 or visit Michigan.gov/DIFS for more information. For assistance in resolving concerns with insurers, Michiganders may file a complaint online at Michigan.gov/DIFScomplaints.
The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security, and success of Michigan residents, while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan residents. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/DIFS or follow the Department on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.