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Flint Residents and Donors Warned About Water Crisis Scams

Brett Carlsen, Getty Images
Brett Carlsen, Getty Images

Michigan’s Consumer Protection Division has released a consumer alert to help Flint residents protect themselves from common scams attempted during crisis situations.

“The outpouring of support and volunteerism in Flint is a reassuring sign of the warmth and compassion Michiganders have for one another, especially during a crisis, and I strongly encourage those in need to seek help,” said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.  “But, even in these times of generosity and need, we must be aware of the common scams that could further hurt Flint families and those attempting to assist them.”

Schuette said two common scams involve charitable giving and home and business repairs. While Michigan residents and small businesses are always at risk of these scams, this crisis may draw the attention of more scam artists than usual. Schuette cautions home and small business owners to remain on guard and to be thorough in asking questions of any unannounced visitors or salespeople during the continuing water crisis.

Charitable Giving Scams

To help ensure the most of your charitable contribution is used to help Flint residents, follow these steps:

  • Be cautious of requests for donations by unfamiliar organizations or people.
  • Beware of unsolicited phone calls, and text and email appeals on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • Crowdfunding and other types of internet giving can be tools of tremendous good, but as with any type of giving it can be abused, so it’s important to proceed with caution when donating online
  • Continue to reach out and help Flint residents but be sure to choose established charitable organizations with a history of helping those in need.

Door-to-Door Sales and Repair Scams

Another common scam is door-to-door sales of services such as home or business repair, or scammers imitating government workers, such as inspection services seeking to gain entrance to your home or business. Take following precautions:

  • Beware of door-to-door solicitors. Be cautious when someone appears at your door without a previous connection to you or without you having contacted the business in question beforehand.
  • Don’t make any rushed decisions. Do your homework and check out any contractor before you pay them anything or sign any contracts. Do not feel pressured into signing any documents at your door. A legitimate business will give you time to consider a proposal.
  • Ask to see the ID of anyone who wants to enter your home or business. It is completely appropriate to check them out by calling the governmental authority or the company they claim to represent.
  • Do not let anyone remove your water meter, and do not pay anyone for promising “alternative” water services involving your home plumbing. Under the Flint City Code of Ordinances, unauthorized parties who tamper with city water system equipment may be guilty of a misdemeanor.

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