Charlotte County, FL – October 20, 2022
Sadly, as our community rebuilds, some will see this as an opportunity to make a quick buck. To help combat fraud and scams, FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency asks that you report any suspicious activity to the disaster fraud hotline at (866) 720-5721.
FEMA inspectors record disaster-caused damage. They do not determine if you’re eligible for FEMA assistance or the amount or type of assistance that FEMA can offer. Since it is important to respond when they try to contact you, make sure you do so safely.
Here’s how you can identify that the person at your door or on the phone is a FEMA inspector.
In-person inspection: All FEMA personnel and contractors carry official identification. Applicants should always ask the inspector to show you their official badge, which shows their name and photo. Contract inspectors for FEMA may carry a badge issued by their employer. It, too, will show their name, photo and possibly, an ID number.
Remote inspection: Inspectors verify they have reached the right applicant by asking for the last four digits of the applicant’s nine-digit FEMA registration number. The inspector provides the first four digits of the applicant’s registration ID. Applicants receive the registration number when they complete a FEMA application.
A few other points to keep in mind about FEMA inspectors:
• They do not request money to complete an inspection and they do not promise that you will receive a grant.
• They have your address from your FEMA disaster assistance application, but they may contact you for directions to your property.
• They may use phone calls, text messages and emails—contact information you provided in your FEMA application.
• Inspectors may call from FEMA-issued phones or personal cell phones, and the area codes could be from somewhere outside New York state.
• Someone wearing a shirt or jacket that says FEMA does not constitute an official ID. Ask to see their FEMA photo ID badge. Federal law prohibits taking a photo or
photocopying U.S. government identification cards. It is a violation that is punishable by fine and imprisonment.
• If you are not at home, the inspector will post a letter at the home.
If you return home to find an inspector’s letter on your door, do not disregard it. The letter is part of the inspection process and will have the inspector’s name and contact information. If you applied to FEMA and you expected the inspector to visit, contact the inspector to continue the process. Do not share the inspector’s contact information on social media.
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]. The FEMA inspector was following FEMA inspection guidelines and protocols. You may contact the inspector directly and explain that you did not apply. The inspector will then report what transpired.
You can verify you have a pending inspection by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 or video relay service (VRS). You can also visit DisasterAssistance.gov and select “Review Status.” You are encouraged to verify your address is correct and to provide specific directions to your property.
“If you ever believe you or someone you know has been victimized by a scam or identity theft, report it immediately to my office by calling 941-639-2101,” states Sheriff Prummell. You may also contact the FEMA Fraud Investigations and Inspections Division at the phone number or email address listed above.
Source: FEMA How to Identify a FEMA Inspector | FEMA.gov