EAGLE PASS, Texas -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Governor's Division of Emergency Management warn storm and tornado victims to be especially alert to fraud during the recovery process. One type of fraud that may surface after disaster strikes is the improper use of federal and state recovery funds by recipients.
FEMA and the state of Texas remind disaster aid applicants that, when they register, all information must be reported honestly and accurately, and all disaster funds must be used solely for disaster recovery.
"Sometimes, in the immediate crisis of a disaster, people don't accurately report their damages or losses," said Federal Coordinating Officer Tony Russell. "People may omit something or may report a loss not related to the April 21-24 severe storms and tornadoes."
Anyone who makes an error when submitting a claim can contact FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. The lines are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily, and multilingual operators are available.
Government officials use a variety of methods to detect fraud such as an electronic process to crosscheck information from FEMA, the state, partner agencies, and insurance companies. Additionally, FEMA inspectors check applicants' homes to verify claimed damages and losses. FEMA refers all suspected fraud cases to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The OIG may refer cases to the United States Department of Justice.
Anyone with knowledge of fraud, waste, or abuse involving FEMA contracts, programs, or personnel may call the FEMA OIG Fraud Hotline at 1-800-323-8603. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You may also send an e-mail to DHSOIGHOTLINE@dhs.gov.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.