FEMA and the Arkansas Division of Emergency Management caution disaster survivors to be aware of post-disaster fraud and scams. Attempts to scam residents can be made over the phone, by mail or email, through the internet or in person. It is important to remain alert, as scammers are creative and resourceful. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it should be questioned.
Aware of Potential Scams
Fake, unlicensed or unbonded contractors may try to take advantage of survivors affected by the March 31 severe storms and tornadoes. As insurance settlements, grants, and loans provide assistance to homeowners to pay for work on their damaged homes, survivors need to be sure the people they hire are authorized to do the work, will complete it, and will do a good job.
Out-of-town scammers may be the first to arrive at your home after a disaster. Do your research. To find out if a potential contractor is licensed to work in Arkansas, search for their information at Contractor Licensing Board Search (arkansas.gov) or contact the Arkansas Contractors Licensing Board at 501-372-4661.
FEMA does not license or certify contractors.
Aware of These Contractor Warning Signs
- Door-to-door solicitations
- High pressure sales or scare tactics
- Demand for cash, unusually large down payments or advanced full payment
- Special deals or extremely low bids
- Verbal agreements, no written contract
- Out of state, no permanent place of business, no insurance
- Inadequate references
Being aware of these important signs can save you from substantial financial and emotional loss. Report suspicious activity of any kind to your local police department, the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-223-0814, or the Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Section in Arkansas: arkansasag.gov/consumer-protection/ or submit a complaint by visiting the Arkansas Office of the Attorney General’s (arkansasag.gov/) page: arkansasag.gov/resources/contact-us/file-a-consumer-complaint/. You can also report the suspected fraud to the Better Business Bureau at 501-664-4888 or visit bbb.org/local-bbb/bbb-serving-arkansas.
The deadline to apply for FEMA assistance is July 3.