Georgia’s attorney general is warning residents about deceptive practices associated with Tropical Storm Ian.
According to the Georgia attorney general Chris Carr, residents should be on the lookout for price gouging and scams in response to Tropical Storm Ian.
As of Thursday afternoon, Ian is expected to move off the coast of northeast Florida, reform into a hurricane and impact the coastlines of South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia this weekend.
Coastal Georgia is projected to feel tropical storm force conditions.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp enacted a state of emergency executive order on Sept. 29 that last lasts through Oct. 28.
The executive order provides protections against price gouging in relation to goods and services necessary to support preparation, response and recovery activities related to the storm.
During the state of emergency, the attorney general’s office notes businesses may not sell or offer to sell at retail, any goods or services identified by the governor at a price higher than that at which the goods or services were sold or offered for sale before the declaration of the state of emergency.
Price increases on goods or services are permitted only if they accurately reflect an increase in the cost of new stock or the cost to transport it, plus the retailer's average markup percentage applied during the 10 days immediately prior to the declaration of a state of emergency.
The current State of Emergency for Supply Chain Disruptions also remains in effect and expires on Oct. 12.
The state attorney warns about storm fraud after the storm including fraudulent contractors. Carr notes individuals should steer away from contractors who ask for full payment up front, only accept payment in cash or refuse to provide you with a written contract, avoid door-to-door offers for home repairs and do a reference check on contractors.
Also be skeptical of any contractor that offers to pay your insurance deductible or offers other no-cost incentives, as these can be signs of fraud. Always talk to your insurance company before committing to any storm-related repairs or inspections.
It is recommended that the contactor has the necessary licensing with the state and/or is affiliated with reputable entities.
When it comes to charities, Carr suggests individuals donate to companies you know and trust
“Unfortunately, con artists will try to take advantage of those impacted by a weather-related disaster or individuals looking to donate to their neighbors in need,” Carr said in a statement. “As we continue to pray for the families and communities in the path of Tropical Storm Ian, we want to remind consumers of the important steps they can take to protect themselves from price gouging and scams. We know this is a difficult and scary time for many, and anyone who is artificially increasing costs on the backs of hardworking Georgians will be held accountable.”
Consumers who believe they may have encountered a scam or price gouging should file a report with the Georgia Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by clicking here or by calling (404) 651-8600 or (800) 869-1123.