Post Hurricane Security
When families fall victim to hurricane disasters and their home and lives are devastated, many think the worst has happened. When hurricanes occur, it can be difficult to believe that anybody would want to exploit the victims of these natural disasters, but there are people and businesses who prey on these victims of disaster.
Post hurricane security starts with your home. If your home has not been completely destroyed and the damage to your house is minimal you may choose to stay in your home. However, if you do need to seek shelter it is important to make sure your belongings are secured. Some people will attempt to pose as disaster relief officials offering relief aid, repairs or low-interest government loans. Beware of anyone who offers you assistance in exchange for a “processing fee” and know that no government organizations charge up front fees for relief assistance. You should always verify the credentials of anyone claiming to be a disaster official by asking for identification and even calling the government agency if necessary.
Another concern involved with post hurricane security is that in most cases you need to share your personal identification information with others in order to qualify for relief funding. Many identity thieves prey on the victims of hurricanes and other disasters because people in the fragile emotional states caused by these disasters are not always of the most sound judgement. When you are under the stress and hardship caused by a disaster you may not think things through before acting and there are criminals who are ready to exploit that at any cost. When possible, always initiate contact with government offices yourself by using online applications and over-the-phone contact. If you feel your identity or personal information may not be secure, or your wallet was stolen you should place a fraud alert on your credit file and freeze or cancel any remaining accounts you may have. A fraud alert will make it significantly more difficult to open any new accounts or apply for any credit in your name. However, this should only be done if you feel your security has been compromised.
As with any home repairs, you should never accept offers for repair work which come on a “now or never” basis. Any reputable contractor will allow you some time to think over their proposal and even seek out second opinions. Ask to see the contractor’s business license and keep a record of the number. You should also make sure the company is local and has a track record in your area. You should never sign an insurance check over to a contractor. Instead arrange for payments to be made through your bank by installments only after each stage of the job has been completed.
A common side effect of hurricane disasters can be flooding. If your home has been flooded you should not stay there until the damage has been surveyed by professionals. Flood waters can damage the foundations of your home, while it otherwise looks stable. They can also sweep all kinds of hidden contaminants into your home. Risking your health or safety after flood damage is never a smart thing to do. If flood waters have hit your home, it will likely flood again. Consider floodproofing as you rebuild and repair