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How to tell if a FEMA inspector is legit to avoid scam during disaster relief process
How to tell if a FEMA inspector is legit to avoid scam during disaster relief process
How to tell if a FEMA inspector is legit to avoid scam during disaster relief process

Published on: 05/23/2024

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How does federal help get to local communities after disaster?
Here's what a major disaster declaration means and how federal assistance reaches a community after a disaster.

Even in disaster relief, there are still scammers out to get you.

Many in New England and across the country grappling with the effects of the severe storms this winter, which in some cases means filing FEMA to seek disaster assistance. But some scammers have tried to impersonate FEMA officials, creating confusion in the process.

FEMA has recently released a document, detailing the process of dealing with an official FEMA inspector and just how you can discern a scammer from a legitimate official.

A FEMA inspector should always have a form of identification on them.

"All FEMA personnel will display official identification," the agency said. "Always ask the inspector to show you their official badge, which shows their name and photo."

Inspectors will contact you via text or email to schedule a home inspection to confirm and examine the flood-related damage listed in your application for assistance, the document said. You should keep your appointment.

"The inspector will try to reach you three times – on different days and at different times of the day – to schedule your inspection," it said. "If the inspector cannot reach you, a letter and/or an e-mail will be sent to the address you provided at the time you applied."

The document lists a few ways you can distinguish a scammer from an official.

  • FEMA inspectors do not request money to complete an inspection. They do not promise that you will receive a grant.
  • Wearing a shirt or jacket with FEMA on it does not constitute an official ID.

"If you find a FEMA inspector’s letter on your door and you did not apply for assistance with FEMA, contact FEMA or the FEMA Fraud Investigations and Inspections Division at 866-223-0814 or email [email protected]," FEMA said.

You should not disregard FEMA inspector letters if you have applied. You should also report any identity theft or fraud to your local police station, if you believe either has occurred.

Rin Velasco is a trending reporter. She can be reached at [email protected].

News Source : https://www.providencejournal.com/story/news/2024/05/23/fema-disaster-assistance-scam-awareness-identity-theft-fraud/73799862007/

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