Hoosiers of Indiana are urged to put up their guards and be more alert as they recover from the dreaded flood earlier this year. Hoosier is the official call for a resident of the state of Indiana. The term was popularized by Richmond, Indiana resident John Finley’s “The Hoosier’s Nest” poem in 1833.
The residents of Indiana are warned to be on the lookout and report suspicious activity of possible fraud, con artists and other felons who target survivors. People often help and support one another, protect what they are left with after the disaster, and try re-establishing a sense of normalcy. But, there are a few people in catastrophe-stricken areas turn against the community and do anti-social activities, including crime.
Disaster researchers have studied the full range of behaviors that the victims of disasters demonstrate. Researchers say that upon uplifting cooperation in the community, anti-social behavior follows, namely looting, fraud, sexual assaults, and acts of domestic violence.
The examples of common post-disaster fraud practices are fraudulent phone calls or home visits, where people falsely claim to be from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or other government agencies that don’t have proper photo identification. Another form of scamming the unfortunate victims are fake offers of federal aid, where scam artists promise to speed up the insurance, disaster assistance, or building-permit process for a fee. Fraudulent building contractors are also a scam that it did to victims, where the victims are offered to begin work immediately and request cash advance fees. The last dominant type of fraud during post-disaster scenarios are dishonest pleas for post-disaster donations, where fraudulent solicitors play on the vulnerable emotions of the victims and solicit money from them.
Researchers say that people, whether disaster victims or not, should understand these phenomena. It will help the development of effective strategies to prevent antisocial actions when future disasters strike. Researchers have learned that each primary type of crime or antisocial behavior must be understood in its terms.