WASHINGTON - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is raising awareness that Hurricane Harvey disaster survivors, and their friends and family, must be alert for false rumors, scams, identity theft, and fraud. Although many Americans are working hard to help their neighbors now, during chaotic times, some will always try to take advantage of the most vulnerable.
To dispel some of the false rumors circulating on the internet and social media, FEMA created a dedicated website to address some of the most common themes. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Remember to get the most accurate information from trusted sources.
Here is how to protect yourself, or someone you care about, from disaster fraud:
- Federal and state workers do not ask for, or accept, money. FEMA staff will never charge applicants for disaster assistance, home inspections, or help filling out applications. Stay alert for false promises to speed up the insurance, disaster assistance, or building permit process.
- In person, always ask to see any FEMA employee ID badges. FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance teams may be in impacted communities providing information and assisting survivors with the registration process or their applicant files.
- A FEMA shirt or jacket is not proof of identity. All FEMA representatives, including our contracted inspectors, will have a laminated photo ID. All National Flood Insurance Program adjusters will have a NFIP Authorized Adjuster Card with their name and the types of claims they may adjust.
- If you are unsure or uncomfortable with anyone you encounter claiming to be an emergency management official, do not give out personal information, and contact local law enforcement.
- If you suspect fraud, contact the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or report it to the Federal Trade Commission.
- More information on disaster-related fraud is available at the Texas Attorney General’s Office website or call 800-252-8011.
- In Louisiana, disaster-related fraud information is available on the State Attorney General’s Office website or contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud’s hotline at 866-720-5721.