By Jill Nolin
ATLANTA – With Hurricane Florence now headed farther south, Georgians may be at risk for more than just heavy rain and winds.
State Attorney General Chris Carr warned consumers Wednesday to also be wary of scammers and others who may try to profit from their distress or good intentions.
"Sadly enough, con artists often exploit disasters by taking advantage of storm victims or preying on the sympathies of those who want to help out," Carr said in a statement.
Carr's consumer protection unit will investigate reports of scams and price gouging during the state of emergency, which was issued around noon Wednesday for the entire state. The declaration, which prohibits price gouging, is valid for a week.
Penalties can range between $2,000 to $15,000 per violation.
"We strongly urge scammers and price gougers to think twice before trying to take advantage of consumers who are fleeing the storm's path or attempting to rebuild their lives in this storm's aftermath in Georgia," Carr said.
Scams and price gouging can be reported to the consumer protection unit at 1-800-869-1123. Reports can be from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday.