PENSACOLA, Fla. – Floridians whose homes were damaged in the recent severe storms may encounter people posing as inspectors, government officials or contractors. These persons may try to obtain personal information or collect payment for disaster assistance or repairs.
FEMA employees DO NOT solicit or accept money from disaster survivors. Many legitimate disaster assistance employees may visit your property such as insurance agents, FEMA disaster survivor assistance teams and inspectors.
Please keep these things in mind:
- FEMA and disaster survivor assistance teams are in the field. They may be asking for information to process an application. FEMA disaster survivor assistance teams coordinate their activities with local emergency managers and make local law enforcement agencies aware of their presence. They will always be wearing FEMA photo IDs. Disaster survivor assistance teams never ask for or accept payment for their services.
- Ask to see ID badges. All FEMA representatives will have a laminated photo ID. A FEMA shirt or jacket is not proof of identity. If you are unsure or uncomfortable with anyone you encounter, please contact local law enforcement. However, other people knocking on doors at damaged homes or phoning homeowners claiming to be building contractors could be con artists, especially if they solicit money.
- Safeguard personal information. Do not give personal information to anyone who is not a federal employee. If a disaster survivor assistance team member offers to help you register with FEMA on the spot, you may give your Social Security number to them. Disaster survivor assistance teams will have federal identification. FEMA will only request bank account numbers during the initial registration process.
- Federal workers do not solicit or accept money. FEMA and U.S. Small Business Administration staff never charge applicants for disaster assistance, inspections or help to fill out applications. FEMA inspectors verify damages, but do not involve themselves in any aspect of the repair nor recommend any contractor.
- For other questions, Florida residents can contact the Florida Consumer Affairs office at freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Consumer-Services or call 800-HELP-FLA or 800-435-7352.