Disaster-Related Phone Scams Reportedly Making Their Way Up East Coast

August 26, 2004

Variations of a telephone scam directed at residents and business owners in disaster-designated areas that began in Ohio and spread to West Virginia and North Carolina, are reportedly now operating along the East Coast, according to federal and state officials.

The callers claim to be representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and say they are calling in reference to government grant information.

According to reports, the callers promise individuals are eligible for a sum of money up to $25,000 and the only cost to them is a one-time processing fee that ranges from $249 to $295. The caller has a financial institution routing number (the numbers that appear along the bottom of one’s personal checks), and they read the numbers to the individual, then ask if they are correct, anticipating the person will then provide them with the correct numbers. The phone number the caller gives is 1-800-551-7099.

“It is imperative for residents in the Commonwealth to be wary of those who are trying to profit from this disaster,” State Coordinating Officer David Sanko said. “We encourage all citizens to report suspicious behavior to police.”

“We want to emphasize to people in Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties the importance of being aware of what type of information they give out and who they give it to,” Federal Coordinating Officer Tom Davies added. “FEMA never charges applicants for disaster assistance,” Davies said.

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