Columbus, MS -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has various systems to identify people who try to take undue advantage of disaster assistance.
Homes of applicants for disaster assistance are inspected to verify the losses claimed. All cases identified as possibly fraudulent are referred to the U.S. Department of Justice for investigation and potential criminal charges.
FEMA also uses information from insurance companies and other disaster agencies to cross-check and verify claims to detect duplicate or fraudulent applications.
"FEMA's responsibility in disaster recovery involves giving financial aid to people in need and at the same time making sure that the taxpayers' money is correctly spent," said Michael Bolch, federal coordinating officer for the recovery effort following the November Mississippi tornadoes.
A person who makes a mistake when submitting an application has the opportunity to cancel or amend the claim by calling 800-621-3362.
If you know anyone who has committed fraud involving disaster assistance, you can call the FEMA fraud hotline at 800-323-8603.