News Release

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Bay Scoggin,
TexPIRG

Harvey Victims Threatened by Scams and Unfair Insurance Practices

For Immediate Release

AUSTIN—The Texas Public Interest Research Group (TexPIRG) is warning consumers against potential scams and is advising consumers to take advantage of the resources available to them online from various legal groups.

TexPIRG notes FEMA has announced that homeowners and renters are getting robocalls telling them their flood premiums are past due. In order to have coverage for Hurricane Harvey, consumers are told they need to submit a payment immediately.

TexPIRG is advising consumers to not to give out any personal information or make any payments to any of these solicitors. Instead, they should contact their insurance agent directly, preferably via written communications like email or fax. This practice creates a paper trail that removes any argument about what was said and when. If a phone call is the only option, consumers should keep written notes on the conversation and follow up with an email as soon as they can.

“It deeply saddens us to think that any carrion-feeders would try and scam the good people affected by this disaster, but it is equally frustrating that insurance companies search for any reason not to make a claims payment to their customers,” says Bay Scoggin, TexPIRG state director.

“We urge disaster victims to avail themselves of the resources available to them, namely the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline, the Consumer Federation of America’s website, and Texas Watch’s Harvey FAQ. Taking the simple step of ten minutes of research could save thousands and thousands of dollars for these people. We want them to know that they have allies. We want them to know we care.”

FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline: 1800-323-8603

Consumer Federation of America: consumerfed.org

Texas Watch FAQ: http://www.texaswatch.org/blog/harvey-faqs

When consumers are cheated or the voices of ordinary citizens are drowned out by special interest lobbyists, TexPIRG speaks up and takes action. We uncover threats to public health and well-being and fight to end them, using the time-tested tools of investigative research, media exposés, grassroots organizing, advocacy and litigation. TexPIRG’s mission is to deliver persistent, result-oriented public interest activism that protects consumers, encourages a fair, sustainable economy, and fosters responsive, democratic government.

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