New York, NY -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a system in place to identify the very small percentage of applicants who try to cash in on others' misfortune.
"In a tragedy like this, it's hard to imagine that some people would try to take advantage," said Ted Monette, federal coordinating officer. "But there are always a few who do, and our job is to provide service to those who need it and ensure that taxpayer dollars are not misused."
Special agents from FEMA's Office of Inspector General have a number of methods in place to detect fraud against FEMA disaster assistance programs. First, an automated system cross checks information with other agencies and insurance companies to weed out duplicate applications. Field inspections are conducted to verify losses and damages for every person who applies to FEMA. Potential cases of fraud or misuse are referred for prosecution as federal offenses.
If you know of someone who is filing false damage claims with FEMA, you should report this or other instances of fraud to the Fraud Hotline at 1-800-323-8603. Caller identification will remain confidential.
People who have made a mistake when reporting damage or have misrepresented their losses have the opportunity to correct or cancel their claim. Individuals may call the registration number at 1-800-462-9029 (TTY 1-800-462-7585) to withdraw or correct an application in order to prevent prosecution.