FBI Opens Gulf Oil Spill Disaster Fraud Line

May 4, 2010

The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced today that an existing fraud tip line is now accepting information from the public about suspected fraud associated with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Tips should be reported to the National Center for Disaster Fraud, (866) 720-5721. The line is staffed by a live operator 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Additionally, e-mails can be sent to disaster@leo.gov or information can be faxed to (225) 334-4707.

According to the FBI, fraudulent activity can take many forms. For example, individuals may claim to be raising money for environmental causes or offer fraudulent services pertaining to the oil spill, such as remediation services. Others may submit false insurance claims for property damage.

More than 20 federal agencies, including the FBI, participate in the NCDF, which allows the center to act as a centralized clearinghouse of information related to disaster relief fraud.

The FBI continues to remind the public to perform due diligence before giving contributions to anyone soliciting donations or individuals offering to provide environmental remediation services. Solicitations can originate from e-mails, websites, door-to-door collections, flyers, mailings, telephone calls, and other similar methods.

The FBI is advising the public to report individuals who are making false or exaggerated insurance claims. and individuals who make insurance claims but reside outside of the disaster zone.

Als, the public should beware of contractors who require up-front payment for services because they may fail to perform the work or complete the job to the customer’s satisfaction. Residents should contractors to provide a written contract detailing the services to be performed and use only licensed contractors.

Consumers can also report suspicious e-mail solicitations or fraudulent websites to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, www.ic3.gov

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