Special Reports

Beware of oil-spill scams

Where there’s a disaster, there are scams and schemes. So:

n Before paying for training to work for an oil-spill cleanup company, make sure you need it. The Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation said there should be no charge to apply or train for a job. People with questions about available oil spill response and recovery jobs can call (877) 362-5034 or visit www.floridagulfrecoveryjobs.com.

n The U.S. Department of Labor has created one-stop career centers where workers can find information on unemployment insurance and job opportunities. Call (877) 872-5627 or go to www.careeronestop.org.

n Learn more about clean-up worker safety at www.osha.gov/oilspills.

n Call the Occupational Health and Safety Administration if job training from a private company is questionable at (800) 321-6742. Training for shoreline, boom laying, or skimming is being done by BP, or its contractors, and it’s free.

n Before investing in a company that says it is working on a project related to the oil spill, read warnings from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority: www.finra.org/Investors/ProtectYourself/InvestorAlerts/FraudsAndScams/P121544.

n If you believe you’ve been a victim of fraud related to the oil spill, call the National Center for Disaster Fraud, (866) 720-5721 or e-mail disaster@leo.gov; call the Florida attorney general’s office at (866) 966-7226 or go to www.myfloridalegal.com; or call the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, (800) 435-352 or go to 800helpfla.com.

n Report suspicious e-mail solicitations or fraudulent websites to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, www.ic3.gov.

n Find more warnings and tips on the Federal Trade Commission’s website, www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt058.shtm.

— Miami Herald

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