LANSING – After a disaster, fraud can be a problem. Sometimes, survivors who try to apply with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) discover that someone has already registered using their name. Scammers may contact survivors who have not registered with FEMA and try to extract money or information.
“FEMA’s priority is getting assistance to disaster survivors as quickly as possible, while also protecting applicants’ personal data,” said Waddy Gonzalez, FEMA’s federal coordinating officer for the Michigan disaster recovery effort. “Michiganders must also be vigilant against potential disaster-related scams and report suspicious activity or potential fraud to the authorities immediately.”
If you are in any doubt when receiving a call or visit from someone stating they are FEMA personnel, do not give out any information, but call 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585) between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET to verify the call is legitimate. Keep in mind, most applicants will not receive an in-person visit from FEMA personnel, contact will be primarily by phone.
FEMA and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) never charge for registration, home inspections, grants, disaster-loan applications or anything else. If you have registered and want to verify any correspondence from FEMA, call 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585). If you suspect fraud, call the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or report it your local police department.