Los Angeles County District Attorney Warns About Fraudulent Online Equipment Sales after Hurricanes, Wildfires

Published : Saturday, September 9, 2017 | 5:04 AM

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is warning against scammers that are taking advantage of natural disasters, including hurricanes and wildfires.

In an announcement on its website Friday, the District Attorney’s Office said the latest scam targets people selling equipment used for disaster relief, such as diesel generators, chainsaws, motor boats and boating supplies, on websites like Craigslist or eBay.

“The scammer contacts the seller and claims to be gathering disaster relief supplies,” the announcement said. “The crook then persuades the victim to donate the item or sell it at a greatly reduced price. The equipment is never used for relief efforts. Instead, the scammer resells it for profit.”

To find out whether offers like this are legitimate, the District Attorney says people should ask if the buyer represents a disaster relief organization, and then confirm the group’s legitimacy by searching with tools such as the Internal Revenue Service’s Exempt Organizations Select Check.

“Make sure the item will be needed for rescue efforts when it’s delivered at a later date. Review the caller’s area code to verify that he or she actually lives near the disaster area,” the announcement added.

All kinds of fraud may be reported to the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs at (800) 593-8222, or by visiting www.dcba.lacounty.gov.

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