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How to Avoid – and Where to Report – Potential Fraud After a Disaster

Release date: 
July 10, 2019
Release Number: 
R4 DR-4399-FL NR 139

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — As the recovery from Hurricane Michael continues, it remains wise to be aware of potential frauds and scams.

 

If you believe you are the victim of a contracting scam or price gouging or other fraudulent activity, contact local law enforcement and report it to the Florida Fraud Hotline at 866-966-7226, the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721, email: disaster@leo.gov or contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftc.gov/complaint.

 

Here is a list of possible scams that may be attempted in counties affected by Hurricane Michael:

 

Telephone calls

  • If you get a call informing you that you are eligible for a FEMA disaster assistance program,
    do not provide any personal information. Do not give out personal information or bank account information over the telephone. If you are contacted by someone you believe is a scammer, contact your local law enforcement agency.

FEMA “Certified”

  • People may sometimes drive around a devastated neighborhood with a “FEMA Certified Contractor” sign on their vehicle. FEMA neither certifies nor endorses any private-sector contractor. (Individuals and government entities should be extremely cautious when hiring contractors after any disaster.)
  • If someone claiming to be a contractor does contact you, stating they represent FEMA or
    that FEMA gave them your name, you should get as much information as you can about the contractor and report them to your local law enforcement agency.

Someone comes to your home without a FEMA photo ID

  • Do not let someone into your home who claims to be a FEMA employee but does not have a FEMA photo ID. Always ask to see a FEMA photo ID badge. A FEMA shirt or jacket is no proof of identity. All FEMA representatives will have a laminated photo ID. If unsure, call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585.

Charitable giving

  • A list of reputable charities that are approved by the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance is available at www.give.org. The Alliance advises “not responding to unsolicited emails, watching out for pushy telemarketers and looking out for fake charities that sound
    real by using similar names.”
  • For more information about avoiding charitable giving scams, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website at www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts.

 Rental listings

  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has information on how rental listing scams work. For instance, scammers know that finding the right apartment or vacation rental can be hard work, and a seemingly good deal is hard to pass up.
    Learn more at www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0079-rental-listing-scams.

 Rumor control

  • To dispel some of the false rumors circulating on the internet and social media, FEMA has a dedicated web page to address some of the most common themes. To get the most accurate information from trusted sources, visit our rumor control page for Hurricane Michael at www.fema.gov/hurricane-michael-rumor-control.

 

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FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during, and after disasters.

For a list of resources available to individuals and businesses affected by Hurricane Michael, visit www.floridadisaster.org/info.

For more Hurricane Michael recovery information, visit www.fema.gov/disaster/4399.

Follow FEMA and the Florida Division of Emergency Management on Twitter at @FEMARegion4 and @FLSERT. You may also visit FEMA and the Division’s Facebook pages at Facebook.com/FEMA and Facebook.com/FloridaSERT.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362) 711/VRS - Video Relay Service). Multilingual operators are available.
(Press 2 for Spanish). TTY call 800-462-7585.

Last Updated: 
July 10, 2019 - 09:26