Severe weather and flooding survivors should watch out for scams, FEMA warns

Jeff Ehling Image
Monday, May 6, 2024
FEMA warns of scams targeting victims of severe weather and flooding
If anyone reaches out offering disaster aid after last week's severe weather, FEMA says this is what you should look out for.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As Houston-area flood waters recede and clean-up gets underway, FEMA is urging everyone impacted by the severe weather to watch out for scams.

When natural disasters occur, it's common to find people who take advantage of survivors by posing as official disaster aid workers or federal agents trying to help survivors complete their applications for FEMA disaster relief. In the process, they steal private information from the fraudulent applications.

FEMA encourages people and business owners to be vigilant and look out for common post-disaster fraud practices such as:

  • Housing inspectors claiming to represent FEMA
  • Fake offers of local or federal aid
  • Fraudulent building contractors

FEMA says you should ask the person offering aid to show you their identification badge, which a federal employee will always have.

You should also never give anyone money. Federal and local disaster workers never accept money for any services.

FEMA also says you should always use licensed or verified local contractors and should never pay over half of the cost of repairs in advance.

You should always remain aware, because this kind of scam doesn't happen only at times of disaster when people might be more vulnerable.

It can happen anytime. It's also important to know that FEMA does not endorse any commercial businesses, products, or services.

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