MIDLOTHIAN, Va. -- Always ask for identification if someone approaches you about your personal or business disaster losses, officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management Agency (VDEM) advise. If the person claims to be with a government agency, he or she will have an official government ID. It's very important not to give out personal or business information unless you are presented with an ID.
"It is a double tragedy to become a victim of fraud after suffering the effects of a disaster. Still, disaster survivors do become prime targets for fraud, identity theft, and other crimes linked to the event," said Federal Coordinating Officer Don Keldsen.
Here's what to expect from authorized officials:
- All FEMA, VDEM, and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) representatives and inspectors will be wearing an official photo ID in plain sight on their person.
- Inspectors will call to arrange an appointment before visiting an applicant or their property.
- FEMA, VDEM, or SBA inspectors will never charge a fee and will not ask for your personal or financial information.
- Insurance adjusters should be able to provide identification upon request.
- Local building inspectors who ensure compliance with building codes should also have a photo ID.
For more information, contact the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline, (866) 720-5721. The call is completely confidential.
Information also can be sent to the National Center for Disaster Fraud, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-4909. Fax: 225-334-4707. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders 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.