FEMA Urges Fla. Residents to Be Wary of Scam Artists During Recovery

February 10, 2006

Officials from the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency and the State Emergency Response Team are urging Florida residents affected by Hurricane Wilma to be alert and report potential fraud in the aftermath of the hurricane and during rebuilding efforts.

“Those recovering from the disaster should take precautions when dealing with contractors or inspectors so they don’t become a victim a second time,” said Director Scott Morris, Florida Long Term Recovery. “Ask for identification before letting anyone into your home.”

FEMA Housing and Quality Control Inspectors along with U.S. Small Business Administration representatives and other city/county officials are currently in the field carrying out disaster damage inspections. All official inspectors carry photo identification .

Inspectors from one or more agencies may visit your home after you have registered for disaster assistance. In addition, a second inspection, referred to as a Quality Control inspection, may be performed. All inspectors will be able to show you official identification to prove their identity. Never let anyone inspect your home without first seeing an official photo ID.

“We are working hard to ensure those who suffered as a result of Hurricane Wilma receive the assistance they need,” State Coordinating Officer Craig Fugate said. “Inspections are an important part of the disaster assistance process and inspectors are still making appointments and visiting applicants.”

Those who suspect an inspector or disaster victim of committing fraudulent activities should call the FEMA Fraud Hotline at 1-866-720-5721. Individuals reporting suspicious activity do not have to give their names. To report suspected fraud concerning contractors or someone posing as a contractor call t he Florida Attorney General’s fraud hotline at 1-866-966-7226.

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