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I-Team: Beware Of After Storm Scams

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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - Images of people who have lost their loved-ones, or their homes, break most of our hearts. But, unfortunately, all too often, thieves see them as picture-perfect opportunities.

The May tornadoes are the most recent tragedy to impact us in North Texas, but victims in West and all of the country are also still recovering from recent disasters.

In March, the family of a 6-year-old shooting victim warned investigators that a fake website appeared to be raising money for them after the Newtown school tragedy.

Click For Comprehensive Coverage of the May 2013 Tornado Outbreak

“Even if there is a website and it’s using someone that is known, you want to follow up and check on that before you give, “ explained Jeannette Kopko of the Dallas Better Business Bureau.

Following the Boston Marathon bombing, Twitter shut down a questionable account. It promised a one dollar donation to followers who re-tweeted the message.

“We don’t know what the true purpose of the account was. It may have been data mining to gather information about twitter holders, “ said Kopko.

The earthquake in Haiti and the explosion in West have led to fake “donate by text” messages and bad “crowd funding” websites.

Kopko says the schemes are on-line and “on-foot.” Victims of the recent tornadoes now have to watch out for contractors come door to door to discuss repairs.

The BBB helped the I-Team compile a list of contractors with “F” ratings. Kopko says some of the complaints were filed after last year’s spring storms.

Lamb Roofing of Grand Prairie, J. Dalton Construction of Richardson (which now appears to be closed) and D & J Construction of Lancaster had the highest number of complaints. An office manager for D & J Construction told us, “We are working on those complaints.”

The bottom line is simple. Before you sign a contact, click on a link, text, or donate, you need to stop and check out the business or charity first.
 
Check out businesses:

Attorney General of Texas

Better Business Bureau

Check out charities:

Better Business Bureau

Mobile Giving Foundation