Beware of Disaster-Related Fraud

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Release date: 
May 16, 2013
Release Number: 
4116-IL NR-003

CHICAGO, IL - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) urge Illinois residents affected by recent severe storms and flooding to be alert for potential fraud and to keep these points in mind:

  • FEMA does not charge for information that it gives out. Apply free online at DisasterAssistance.gov or call 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585).
  • FEMA does not send out text messages asking recipients to call fee-based telephone numbers. The toll-free numbers above are used for all contact with FEMA, including applying and follow-up.
  • FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration do not charge fees for information regarding filling out the SBA loan applications. Free assistance is available by calling SBA’s toll-free number, 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339).

FEMA’s Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams (DSATs) are canvassing affected areas to provide information about disaster assistance and give Illinois residents an opportunity to register. While FEMA DSATs are offering at-your-door service, it’s important to remain vigilant about protecting your personal information:

Residents should always ask for ID. Federal and state officials always have identification clearly visible. If someone represents themselves as a federal or state employee, but does not produce identification, ask to see it.

  • DSAT members may offer residents the opportunity to use a tablet computer to register, or ask to enter information on their behalf.  DSAT members will never require Illinois residents to provide personal information. If residents prefer to use personal computers or phones to register, they can call 1-800-621-3362 (TTY 1-800-462-7585), visit DisasterAssistance.gov or use a mobile device at m.fema.gov.

Anyone with knowledge of fraud, waste or abuse may call the FEMA Fraud Hotline at 800-323-8603. You may also send an email to DHSOIGHotline@dhs.gov. Complaints may also be made via the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) or with state or local law enforcement officials or consumer agencies.

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.

Follow FEMA online at twitter.com/femaregion5, facebook.com/fema, and youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at twitter.com/craigatfema. The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

Media Contact: 609-508-2238

Last Updated: 
May 16, 2013 - 15:15
State/Tribal Government or Region: 
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