RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

Scam Watch: Fake Election Pollsters on the Prowl

October 13, 2016 12:51 am


Scammers are out in full force under the guise of Presidential election pollsters, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) recently warned.

The ruse? According to the BBB, a fraudster calls an unsuspecting consumer offering a reward in exchange for opinions about the election. The fraudster may ask seemingly valid questions in an attempt to gain the consumer’s trust. Once the consumer answers the questions, the fraudster asks for the consumer’s credit card number—this information, the fraudster says, is needed to pay for the shipping and taxes on the reward. The fraudster makes off with the credit card number, making the consumer vulnerable to unauthorized charges or—worse—identity theft.

Watchfulness is key to avoiding this and other campaign cons, according to the BBB. Polling organizations never offer rewards in exchange for opinions, nor ask for credit card information.

Those wishing to make a donation to a campaign should do so directly through the campaign office, not through an email or social media link, the BBB advises.

Source: Better Business Bureau (BBB)
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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A Hurricane Damaged My Home—Now What?

October 13, 2016 12:51 am


Anyone whose home’s been damaged by a hurricane knows the days following the storm can be hazy.

The first and most important step to take after the storm is contacting your insurance provider to begin the claim filing process. It’s important to do this as soon as you’re able, according to the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), but to tread carefully when doing so.

“Families will have to dig deeper into their pockets, because insurers have been steadily increasing hurricane wind coverage deductibles and imposing other policy limitations,” said J. Robert Hunter, director of Insurance for CFA, in a statement on Hurricane Matthew, the most recent storm. “This liability shift to consumers may take some by surprise, since disclosures are often buried in renewal paperwork that consumers may not understand or even read.”

It’s important, according to CFA, to keep records of each event in the claims process, especially when making a claim due to a major catastrophe. Keep your claim number handy, and hold on to receipts for repair work or temporary housing. Record brief notes, including dates and times, of all communications with your insurer. Take stock of your belongings as best you can—having a list will help expedite the claims process.

In the meantime, take steps to prepare for the insurance adjustment, CFA recommends. Be sure to get estimates from a few local, reputable contractors for reference before the adjuster arrives to assess the damage—and, remember, you’re not obligated to use a contractor recommended by your insurer. Clarify whether the adjuster is an independent professional or an employee of the insurer—if the former, confirm they’re authorized by the insurer to make decisions related to your claim.

Remain vigilant through the process, as well. Though flooding is not covered by standard homeowners insurance policies, some insurers employ an “anti-concurrent-causation” clause—this means that the insurer will not cover wind damage if flooding occurred concurrently, or at the same time, according to CFA. (Your claim may be denied because of this clause—if that’s the case, consult with an attorney, CFA advises.) Some insurers may also unfairly categorize losses as the result of flooding, rather than high winds.

“Because so many consumers experienced claims problems in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, we urge homeowners dealing with losses caused by Hurricane Matthew to be vigilant with their insurance companies to ensure that they receive a full and fair settlement,” Hunter said.

However, “not all insurance companies handle claims badly, so go into the claims process with an open mind,” Hunter added.

Source: Consumer Federation of America (CFA)
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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