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FEMA Urges Survivors to Guard Against Identity Theft and Fraud

Release Date Release Number
NR-005

LANSING, Mich. – After a disaster, fraud can be a problem.

Sometimes, survivors who try to apply with FEMA discover that someone has already registered using their name. Scammers may contact survivors who have not registered with FEMA and try to extract money or information.

“FEMA’s priority is getting assistance to disaster survivors as quickly as possible, while also protecting applicants’ personal data,” said Waddy Gonzalez, FEMA’s federal coordinating officer for the Michigan disaster recovery effort. “Michiganders must also be vigilant against potential disaster-related scams and report suspicious activity or potential fraud to the authorities immediately.”

If you are in any doubt when receiving a call or visit from someone stating they are FEMA personnel, do not give out any information, but call 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585) between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET to verify the call is legitimate. Keep in mind: most applicants will not receive an in-person visit from FEMA personnel; contact will be primarily by phone.

FEMA reminds survivors:

  • FEMA and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) never charge for registration, home inspections, grants, disaster-loan applications or anything else.
  • If you have registered and want to verify any correspondence from FEMA, call 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585).
  • If you suspect fraud, call the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or report it your local police department.

FEMA also recommends you monitor your credit report for any accounts or changes you do not recognize. If you discover someone is using your information, you will need to take additional steps, including filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission through its website: IdentityTheft.gov.

If you suspect someone is committing fraud, call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or your local police department. If you have questions about the federal disaster assistance process, contact the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585) between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET.                                             

Last updated July 22, 2020