GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico – When natural disasters occur, it is common for some people to take advantage of survivors by posing as official disaster aid workers trying to help survivors complete their applications.
Scam attempts can be made over the phone, by mail or email, text or in person. In Puerto Rico, survivors of Tropical Storm Isaías should be aware of fraud and scams, and report any suspicious activity or potential fraud from scam artists, identity thieves and other criminals.
Federal and state workers never ask for or accept money, and they always carry identification badges. There is no fee required to apply for or to get federal disaster assistance.
During each disaster, it’s important to stay tuned to local media and trusted local and federal social media. They provide current updates about ongoing disasters with tips on disaster fraud.
If something makes you feel uncomfortable, check with FEMA or local law enforcement to ensure your identity is protected.
If you suspect fraud, call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721. You may also file a complaint with police.
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.
The first step to recovery is to apply with FEMA. To apply:
- Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (FEMA) or (TTY) 800-462-7585. Press 2 for a Spanish-speaking operator. Lines are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
- Visit www.DisasterAssistance.gov.
- Download FEMA’s mobile app. Select Disaster Resources and click on DisasterAssistance.gov. If you have an Apple device: Text APPLE to 43362 (4FEMA). For those with an Android device: Text ANDROID to 43362 (4FEMA). For more information go to: www.fema.gov/mobile-app.
For more information on Puerto Rico’s disaster recovery, visit www.fema.gov/disaster/4560
and Facebook: www.facebook.com/femapuertorico.