ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Disasters frequently bring out the best in people but sometimes the worst. When fraud occurs, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a responsibility to take action.
People who intentionally defraud the federal government are taking money away from those who truly need disaster assistance. FEMA must ensure that taxpayer dollars go only to people who incurred legitimate losses. This may include prosecuting anyone who makes a fraudulent claim.
Most cases where possible fraud is detected are not deliberate attempts to defraud the government. FEMA recommends survivors receiving disaster assistance awards to keep receipts for at least three years that document how the funds were used.
Anyone with information about individuals who may have defrauded the government in connection with the 2013 spring floods should call the FEMA fraud hotline at 800-323-8603 or email DHSOIGHOTLINE@DHS.GOV. This can include information on contractors, inspectors, disaster survivors or anyone posing as any of these. Complaints also can be made via the FEMA disaster assistance helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) or with state or local law enforcement officials or consumer agencies.
Survivors who feel they have made a mistake in reporting damages or losses should call the FEMA disaster assistance helpline at 800-621-3362.
FEMA’s Office of Inspector General routinely audits individuals, local governments and nonprofit organizations that receive FEMA disaster assistance funds. The audits are independent assessments to determine whether recipients spent the funds according to federal regulations and FEMA guidelines. Auditors look at expenditures on ineligible items or instances of duplicate payments from insurance companies or other sources.