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News Release
DCBOC
DCBOC
09-14-20 Notice - Price Gouging and Insurance Scams (Photo) - 09/14/20

Douglas County Board of Commissioners

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 14, 2019

 

*** Notice *** Price Gouging and Insurance Scams

 

(Douglas County, OR.)  It has been brought to the attention of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners that there are individuals and businesses out there that are preying on vulnerable Douglas County residents by attempting to and engaging in price gouging and insurance scams.  They are targeting residents and evacuees that have been directly affected by the recent devastating local wildfires.  The Commissioners are asking for your help in identifying and reporting those individuals and businesses that have engaged in these fraudulent and unethical activities. 

 

Citizens can report insurance scams to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office at (541) 440-4471.  Please report price gouging scams directly to the Oregon Department of Justice and the Oregon Attorney General’s Office by calling their Consumer Hotline at (503) 378-8442 or by completing the Online Report Form: https://justice.oregon.gov/consumercomplaints/OnlineComplaints/OnlineComplaintForm/en

 

We have so many amazing citizens out there working hard, donating and volunteering their time to help our neighbors, evacuees and wildfire victims.  Citizens in our county are known for their incredible generosity and giving in times of need.  The outpouring of support for our neighbors and families during this crisis has been outstanding.  So, we are not going to stand by and watch a few despicable individuals and businesses steal from those that have already been devastated by the recent fires,” stated Commissioner Tom Kress.  “The fraudulent behavior will not be tolerated!  Those caught engaging in these activities and attempting to swindle money, property or valuables from our Douglas County wildfire victims and their families will be reported and prosecuted to the full extent of the law!

 

Your Douglas County Board of Commissioners want to help our residents stay safe from these fraudsters.  Here are a few tips to help you recognize and steer clear of price gouging and insurance scams. 

 

1. What is price gouging?  Price gouging occurs when a seller increases the prices of goods, services or commodities to a level much higher than is considered reasonable or fair.  Common examples include price increases of basic necessities, hotels, food and repair services during and after natural disasters.

 

2. How do you spot price gouging?  Recognize extraordinarily high prices.  Businesses are allowed to increase prices for supplies during an emergency, but they are NOT allowed to raise the price of products excessively to take advantage of a current emergency, pandemic or season. While laws vary by state, increases over 20% may be considered price gouging.

 

3. Err on the side of caution: If you aren’t sure whether a product is priced too high or it’s a scam, it’s better to report problematic items to the company and the Oregon Department of Justice and the Oregon Attorney General.

 

4. What do I need to report price gouging? You will generally need:

a. The name of the store/vendor where you saw the item and their address.

b. Product details, including, but not limited to, the product type, brand, size, and price.

c. The date, time, and location you saw the product.

d. You can also improve the investigation by providing a picture of the item.

 

5. What do I need to report insurance scams? You will generally need:

a. The name of the person or company that contact you, their phone, email and/or address.

b. A description of the person, product or service they offered to you.

c. The date, time and manner to which you were contacted.

d. A business card or copy of their identification is also helpful.

 

6. Don’t be fooled by limited-time and too-good-to-be-true offers.  Know that legitimate offers are always valid beyond the immediate time a salesperson is at your door or on the phone. Don’t let them pressure you into signing up for a time-sensitive or one-time-only offer.  Ask to see materials and tell them you want to think about it.  Then do your homework and investigate the offer and company.

 

7. Never prepay or give out your bank account information.  Legitimate companies will never ask for you to pay in full upfront prior to completing a job or ask you to send a money order to a random address or ask for your bank account information. Make sure you get everything in writing. 

 

8. Be watchful for aggressive tactics.  It can be easier to say “no” at the doorstep than inside your house. If a salesperson refuses to leave or continues pressuring you to make a purchase, call the police immediately. 

 

9. Shut the door or Hang Up.  It’s a salesperson’s job to make sure they provide all the details.  If you don’t want to buy a product or service, you don’t have to. Simply shut the door or hang up the phone.  If they continue to bother you, call the police or block their phone number or email. 

 

If you feel you have been taken advantage of, there are steps you can take — both online and on the phone. For more information, log onto the Department of Justice – Consumer Protection website at:  https://www.doj.state.or.us/consumer-protection/.  Please stay safe out there!

 

###

 

Contact Tamara Howell, Emergency Communications & Community Engagement Specialist (PIO)

(541) 670-2804 cell - (541) 957-4896 office - tjhowell@co.douglas.or.us

Attached Media Files: DCBOC
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