Attorney General Pam Bondi News Release

September 11, 2017
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150

After Irma, Beware of Price Gouging, Disaster Scams and Looting

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—As Tropical Storm Irma continues to move through Florida, Attorney General Pam Bondi is warning those in impacted areas to guard against price gouging, contracting scams and looting.

“Irma is still moving through Florida and already we are hearing reports about looting and robbery. This is disgraceful and anyone who steals from Floridians in this time of crisis will be caught and prosecuted,” said Attorney General Bondi. “My office and law enforcement continue to work tirelessly to protect Floridians, but citizens can help by taking steps to avoid being victimized.”

After a natural disaster, consumers should be wary of tree service scams, building and home repair scams, disaster relief scams, and water testing and treatment scams. If you suspect criminal activity such as looting, robbery or any violent crime, call 911 immediately.

Building Repair and Contractors: After a disaster, qualified contractors are in high demand, making things ideal for scam artists. If your home is damaged, be sure to follow these tips when hiring a contractor:

Tree Service Scams: Heavy winds from a hurricane or tropical storm results in littered roads and uprooted trees. If you plan to have nearby trees removed to protect your home from danger or have fallen trees removed after a storm, follow these tips to avoid being scammed:

Charity Scams: This scam is particularly effective after a disaster, during which numerous disaster-specific charities crop up. If you would like to donate to help with disaster relief, consider these tips:
Disaster Relief Scams: The Federal Emergency Management Agency offers disaster relief to eligible victims through various programs. When seeking aid, consider the following:
Water Testing and Treatment Scams: Water mains and personal wells can be affected during hurricanes, and dishonest companies and individuals may insist upon pricey tests to determine water safety. Avoid falling victim by following these tips:

The state of emergency is still in effect and that means Florida’s price gouging law still applies to anyone who sells essential commodities or provides essential services to our consumers. We anticipate an uptick in price gouging complaints and complaints about unscrupulous contractors and charities post-Irma, especially tree service scams, building and home repair scams, disaster relief scams, and water testing and treatment scams.

Please report any scams to the Florida Attorney General’s Office by calling (866) 9NO-SCAM. If you cannot get a live operator file a complaint online at