The Federal Emergency Management Agency is advising Hurricane Ian survivors to be aware of potential scams and attempts of fraud during a time of vulnerability.
FEMA said criminals and con artists will attempt to obtain money or steal individuals’ personal information through fraud or identity theft after a disaster.
FEMA warns there are signs to pay attention to that help prevent survivors’ information from being stolen.
FEMA Assistance Application Fraud
Be wary of unexpected phone calls or visits to your home from people claiming to be FEMA housing inspectors or people claiming they work for FEMA. FEMA representatives will have your FEMA application number.
- If a FEMA inspector comes to your home and you did not submit a FEMA application, your information may have been used without your knowledge to create that application.
- If this happens, FEMA said to let the inspector know that you did not apply for assistance so they can submit a request to stop further processing of the application.
- If you did not apply for assistance but received a letter from FEMA, call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362. The helpline will submit a request to stop any further processing of that application.
- In the case that you would like to apply for FEMA assistance after stopping an application made in your name without your knowledge, the helpline can also help assist you in creating a new application.
Be Aware of Scams
FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance teams, housing inspectors and other officials will be working in areas impacted by Hurricane Ian in Florida. They carry official identification badges with photo IDs. FEMA and U.S. Small Business Administration representatives never charge applicants for disaster assistance, inspections or help in filling out applications.
- Do not give out your banking information to someone claiming to be a FEMA housing inspector. FEMA inspectors are never authorized to collect your personal financial information.
- Do not believe anyone who promises a disaster grant in return for payment
If you believe you are the victim of a scam, report it immediately to your local police or sheriff’s department or contact the Office of the Attorney General by calling 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226) or visit myfloridalegal.com. To file a fraud complaint, go online to Scam Report (myfloridalegal.com).