Scams popping up in Gulf oil situation

On top of the obvious concerns regarding the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, numerous scams have emerged, and the Better Business Bureau has reported the top three.

Several organizations, including BP, have reported scams involving jobs. Job seekers were sent to a Web site and told to pay a fee up front in order to get a job or training for a job. Scammers are seeking to get their hands on personal information for identity theft, or to obtain credit card or bank account numbers. There have been reports of recruiters seeking workers for cleanup efforts – these are not affiliated with BP.

People interested in cleanup jobs should check BP's Web site for available positions, as well as the state employment offices in the affected states.
You should be leery of companies that require applicants to pay for training or that ask for a fee up front. Most employers will provide training at no charge to a new employee.

The second scam comes in the form of unsolicited e-mails claiming recipients can receive compensation from BP. The Federal Trade Commission is warning against fake adjusters asking for fees to expedite services.

BP is accepting claims from individuals and businesses for property damage, loss of income and bodily injury or illness. It's unclear if BP will accept any applications from Gulf Coast vacationers regarding reimbursement. More information on filing claims can be found on the Deepwater Horizon response and BP Web sites.

Scammers posing as a charity soliciting donations for the oil spill from well-meaning individuals are popping up every day. While the spill is the worst environmental catastrophe in U.S. history, there is a limit to what charities can do with donations or how people can volunteer. Numerous charities with a volunteer program request registration, so the organization can place the individual in the proper place should something come up.

The BBB has posted a list of charities nationwide that are asking for donations and/or volunteers. BP has set up a hotline at 877-359-6281 to report fraudulent activities concerning the oil spill. You can also report fraud to the FBI at 866-720-5721 or by e-mail at disaster@leo.gov. You can also report scams to the BBB.

Published Monday, July 12, 2010 4:15 PM by bulldog
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