West Kentuckians already vulnerable, and face another threat after the storm: scammers.
“It’s heartbreaking to see people who are likely victims after all they’ve suffered; you know there will be people from the outside area trying and taking advantage,” said LaDonna Koebel, executive director of the attorney general’s office.
In this week, law officer started to receive reports of price gouging.
Reports include hotels doubling their prices after the hurricane event, retailers doubling the prices of food and essential supplies, such as gas and propane, for heating fuel. One complaint said a gallon of milk sold for $7.
“If it’s overextended after the storm, prices have gone overboard from pre-storm levels, then that’s something we’ll be looking at,” Koebel said.
There are also reports of fraudulent, unlicensed contractors approaching homeowners, taking their money and doing nothing.
“Therefore, the AG office has the authority to investigate allegations of racketeering and track down those retailers with amounts in excess of what they should have been charged and get the money back to the consumer. And also to hit quite high fines for retailers that might try to do this,” said Koebel.
Fraudulent claims of identity theft and people impersonating Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials have also been reported. If scams rise to crime levels, Koebel said they will cooperate with local law enforcement.
“With scams, we work with local law enforcement and other agencies, sometimes the federal government, it really depends, it could be a criminal action. depending on what the scammer does. If they took the money and didn’t take action, we would also contact local law enforcement,” Koebel said.
The Attorney General’s Office urges anyone who suspects price gouging or other problems in the wake of the storm to call Immediate Disaster Fraud Hotline.
The hotline phone number is: 502-696-5485
To submit a complaint, fill out Gouging Price Complaint Form
https://foxlexington.com/news/kentucky/fraudulent-activity-targets-vulnerable-victims-in-western-kentucky/ Phishing activity targeting vulnerable victims in western Kentucky