WALLINGFORD, Conn. -- Inspectors from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are in the field as an important part of the recovery process for people affected by the March 12 to May 17 severe storms and flooding. Currently time from registration for disaster assistance to inspection averages 48 hours.
FEMA registration is available at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), TTY 1-800-462-7585, from 6:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., Monday through Friday (Eastern time), and 6:30 a.m. to midnight Saturday and Sunday.
It is an unfortunate fact that after disaster declarations, scam artists will try to profit from the misfortunes of others by posing as damage inspectors. If an inspector’s identity is in doubt, and he or she fails to provide a photo ID, re-schedule the inspection and report the incident to local police.
The following are points to remember during inspections:
- Inspectors do not carry money, and don’t request money.
- Inspectors come by appointment only.
- All inspectors wear current photo identification badges.
- Clothing with names or insignias is not an indication the wearer works for the agency.
- All FEMA inspectors carry hand-held computers which have information about the person whose household they are inspecting.
- The computer is only for FEMA programs and has no other use.
- Inspectors do not determine dollar amounts of damage. They only look at reported damage and document it.
In addition to FEMA inspectors, other inspectors or verifiers may visit those with disaster losses. They all carry official photo identification. After the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan application has been completed and returned, an SBA verifier will make an appointment for an inspection. The American Red Cross may conduct a home visit to verify losses and the need for Red Cross assistance. Local building and safety inspectors may be sent to see if damaged buildings are safe to occupy.
If an inspector is not wearing an identification card or badge, ask to see it. And never give money to an "official inspector." If they are the real thing, they won’t ask.
If you suspect fraud or a scam, you can report it to the FEMA disaster fraud hotline at 1-866-720-5721.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders and to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.