Scammers try to capitalize on sinkhole anxiety - FOX 13 News

Scammers try to capitalize on sinkhole anxiety

Posted: Updated:
SEFFNER (FOX 13) -

For the first time since last Thursday night, the yellow police caution tape is gone. The county vehicles and staff are gone and all that's left is a fence surrounding where a home once stood, where a family once lived.

What's left behind are questions and concerns about where it might happen next.

This is just the sort of fear potential sinkhole scammers are ready to pounce on.

"I just told him to take a walk," said George Kloiber. "Because I knew right off the bat, it was definitely a scam!"

Kloiber said you have to stay strong and keep a cool head, because the vultures are descending.

"Yeah, I had a scammer come to my house the day before yesterday and he was gonna represent me, with the attorneys," said Kloiber, who lives close to the sinkhole that still holds Jeff Bush's body.

"With Jeff, it was just whoosh," said Buddy Wicker who owned the home. "One minute here and one minute, next minute gone. And it hurts to think about that."

It's that kind of brokenhearted emotion from Wicker and from homeowners across their neighborhood, potential scammers will seize upon.

"I just got the feeling. You know, when a guy I don't know walks up to me and says I'm gonna do all kinds of things for you, walk away from him! As quick as you can!" said Kloiber.

"Don't pay for anything or sign anything, unless you do some due diligence ahead of time," said Kevin Jackson with the Hillsborough County Consumer Protection Agency.

Most of what's going on so far, is just aggressive business marketing, but sometimes it's tough to tell the fakes from the real agencies who can truly help.

"We don't have a sinkhole epidemic in Florida," said Jackon. "We have a sinkhole claim-processing epidemic in Florida. And you have public adjusters, and attorneys and law firms that are really trying to take advantage of the situation and the claims that are being paid out for sinkhole damage is extreme."

That's what's driving the barrage in-person, by mail, and by phone.

"You know, you're getting 900-numbers calling you up," said Kloiber. "Don't even answer 'em! Don't even pick 'em up!"

"How do you know, who you can trust and who you can't?," we asked Jackson.

"Well, you can't unless you do the research after the fact," said Jackson. "If it's unsolicited marketing, and they want you to make a decision on the spot, that's already a red flag."

But for homeowners like Kloiber, he said he is happy to continue living here without worry of another sinkhole event.

"If it's gonna happen, it's gonna happen and there's nothing I can do about it," Kloiber said.

Check with your insurance company first, to see what they recommend you do, if you think you have a real sinkhole concern.

There's nothing wrong with getting several opinions, just don't give anybody a penny until you know for sure they're legit. And that you have a real sinkhole on your hands.


LINK: Sinkhole insurance vs. catastrophic ground collapse:
http://www.myfloridacfo.com/consumers/Guides/Property/Sinkholes.htm


 

For the first time since last Thursday night, the yellow police caution tape is gone. The county vehicles and staff are gone and all that's left is a fence surrounding where a home once stood, where a family once lived.

 

What's left behind are questions and concerns about where it might happen next.

 

This is just the sort of fear potential sinkhole scammers are ready to pounce on.

 

"I just told him to take a walk," said George Kloiber. "Because I knew right off the bat, it was definitely a scam!"

 

Kloiber said you have to stay strong and keep a cool head, because the vultures are descending.

 

"Yeah, I had a scammer come to my house the day before yesterday and he was gonna represent me, with the attorneys," said Kloiber, who lives close to the sinkhole that still holds Jeff Bush's body.

 

"With Jeff, it was just whoosh," said Buddy Wicker who owned the home. "One minute here and one minute, next minute gone. And it hurts to think about that."

 

It's that kind of brokenhearted emotion from Wicker and from homeowners across their neighborhood, potential scammers will seize upon.

 

"I just got the feeling. You know, when a guy I don't know walks up to me and says I'm gonna do all kinds of things for you, walk away from him! As quick as you can!" said Kloiber.

 

"Don't pay for anything or sign anything, unless you do some due diligence ahead of time," said Kevin Jackson with the Hillsborough County Consumer Protection Agency.

 

Most of what's going on so far, is just aggressive business marketing, but sometimes it's tough to tell the fakes from the real agencies who can truly help.

 

"We don't have a sinkhole epidemic in Florida," said Jackon. "We have a sinkhole claim-processing epidemic in Florida. And you have public adjusters, and attorneys and law firms that are really trying to take advantage of the situation and the claims that are being paid out for sinkhole damage is extreme."

 

That's what's driving the barrage in-person, by mail, and by phone.

 

"You know, you're getting 900-numbers calling you up," said Kloiber. "Don't even answer 'em! Don't even pick 'em up!"

 

"How do you know, who you can trust and who you can't?," we asked Jackson.

 

"Well, you can't unless you do the research after the fact," said Jackson. "If it's unsolicited marketing, and they want you to make a decision on the spot, that's already a red flag."

 

But for homeowners like Kloiber, he said he is happy to continue living here without worry of another sinkhole event.

 

"If it's gonna happen, it's gonna happen and there's nothing I can do about it," Kloiber said.

 

Check with your insurance company first, to see what they recommend you do, if you think you have a real sinkhole concern.

 

There's nothing wrong with getting several opinions, just don't give anybody a penny until you know for sure they're legit. And that you have a real sinkhole on your hands.

For the first time since last Thursday night, the yellow police caution tape is gone. The county vehicles and staff are gone and all that's left is a fence surrounding where a home once stood, where a family once lived.

What's left behind are questions and concerns about where it might happen next.

This is just the sort of fear potential sinkhole scammers are ready to pounce on.

"I just told him to take a walk," said George Kloiber. "Because I knew right off the bat, it was definitely a scam!"

Kloiber said you have to stay strong and keep a cool head, because the vultures are descending.

"Yeah, I had a scammer come to my house the day before yesterday and he was gonna represent me, with the attorneys," said Kloiber, who lives close to the sinkhole that still holds Jeff Bush's body.

"With Jeff, it was just whoosh," said Buddy Wicker who owned the home. "One minute here and one minute, next minute gone. And it hurts to think about that."

It's that kind of brokenhearted emotion from Wicker and from homeowners across their neighborhood, potential scammers will seize upon.

"I just got the feeling. You know, when a guy I don't know walks up to me and says I'm gonna do all kinds of things for you, walk away from him! As quick as you can!" said Kloiber.

"Don't pay for anything or sign anything, unless you do some due diligence ahead of time," said Kevin Jackson with the Hillsborough County Consumer Protection Agency.

Most of what's going on so far, is just aggressive business marketing, but sometimes it's tough to tell the fakes from the real agencies who can truly help.

"We don't have a sinkhole epidemic in Florida," said Jackon. "We have a sinkhole claim-processing epidemic in Florida. And you have public adjusters, and attorneys and law firms that are really trying to take advantage of the situation and the claims that are being paid out for sinkhole damage is extreme."

That's what's driving the barrage in-person, by mail, and by phone.

"You know, you're getting 900-numbers calling you up," said Kloiber. "Don't even answer 'em! Don't even pick 'em up!"

"How do you know, who you can trust and who you can't?," we asked Jackson.

"Well, you can't unless you do the research after the fact," said Jackson. "If it's unsolicited marketing, and they want you to make a decision on the spot, that's already a red flag."

But for homeowners like Kloiber, he said he is happy to continue living here without worry of another sinkhole event.

"If it's gonna happen, it's gonna happen and there's nothing I can do about it," Kloiber said.

Check with your insurance company first, to see what they recommend you do, if you think you have a real sinkhole concern.

 

There's nothing wrong with getting several opinions, just don't give anybody a penny until you know for sure they're legit. And that you have a real sinkhole on your hands.

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