How to Plan for a Disaster and What to Do if You're a Disaster Victim

In the Aftermath of a Disaster

Be alert to the fact that there are many unscrupulous people who will look to take advantage of a disaster. Be on guard for:

  • Fly-by-night contractors asking for advanced payments for board-up and/or repair work.
  • Scam operators looking to obtain personal or financial information from you under the pretext of helping you or being "an official" from an emergency assistance agency – like FEMA, or an insurance adjuster, investigator, etc.
  • Thieves and looters roaming impacted neighborhoods.
  • Individuals soliciting funds door to door, in public areas, or via the Internet claiming to assist the victims.

While this information is helpful, it is not exhaustive. Furthermore, you can take every step outlined above and still be a victim because you will never really know where all your information has landed. That said, there is no substitute for preparation and remaining cautious and alert before, during and after a disaster.

This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

Adam Levin is chairman and cofounder of and Identity Theft 911. His experience as former director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs gives him unique insight into consumer privacy, legislation and financial advocacy. He is a nationally recognized expert on identity theft and credit.

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