September is National Disaster Preparedness Month, and the Oregon Department of Justice, the Department of Consumer and Business Services, and the Construction Contractors Board have prepared a new resource guide for Oregonians. The easy-to read, ten-page booklet is available in English and Spanish and covers topics like working with your insurance company, hiring a contractor to help you rebuild, spotting and avoiding a disaster-related scam, and how to get help if you have been victimized.
The new booklet is designed to be shared electronically and in a printed format to community partners and local governments working with a community after a disaster.
“Throughout the pandemic and the rash of heat waves, ice storms, wildfire smoke and more, dishonest individuals are always lurking. Some are outright scammers, but many are just unscrupulous businesses looking for a quick buck. They could be unlicensed contractors looking for jobs, or price gouging vendors of bottled water or cleaning products. Any way you look at it, it can feel overwhelming to navigate when your home and community have been damaged,” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “We wanted to make a guide that can be delivered to people in real time, and that includes information to stay safe from a disaster-related scam or fraud.”
Last year, in the aftermath of Oregon’s historic wildfires, the Oregon Department of Justice brought an “all-hands-on deck” approach to supporting the state’s recovery. DOJ lawyers and staff worked to help get resources flowing to fire victims as fast as possible, and supported local non-profits that provided services to those impacted by the wildfires. This new multi-agency guide is one more tool for Oregonians to access.
“Disasters can happen at any time. This booklet is designed to help you avoid pitfalls and guide you to recovery,” said Andrew Stolfi, insurance commissioner and Department of Consumer and Business Services director. “We are pleased to partner with the DOJ and CCB in creating this disaster reference guide and believe it will be a valuable resource for many Oregonians.”
“Just as there are people willing to capitalize on the misfortune of others, there are legal protections to help protect Oregonians. Consumers need to be educated about disaster scams, they need to know their rights and they should always check the license before agreeing to any work with a contractor,” said Chris Huntington, Administrator Construction Contractors Board.