FEMA disaster fraud catches one woman by surprise, others could be victims
BATON ROUGE - Fraud follows disasters and Hurricane Ida is no different. Some people are finding out that someone is using their names to sign-up for FEMA disaster assistance.
One woman, who does not want to be identified, found out it happened to her when FEMA knocked on her door. She's sharing her story with 2 On Your Side.
"I'm angry someone would do this to me!" she said. "A FEMA representative knocked on the door and said he was there to ascertain the amount of damages and what I was eligible for from FEMA."
FEMA reps have been going door to door this week helping people sign up for assistance. She says the FEMA rep knocked on her door about a week ago. He had her name, birth date, address, and two phone numbers that were not hers.
"He said I had applied - or someone had applied in my name - for FEMA assistance, and I said it was not me."
For the last few decades, she's lived in the Monticello neighborhood of Baton Rouge. She's thankful she did not receive much damage from Hurricane Ida, other than a broken fence and spoiled food.
"I couldn't even claim it on my homeowner's. There was so little damage done that I didn't even bother," she said.
Now, she's filed a claim through the National Center for Disaster Fraud. What really gets her is that there are others out there who may not know their information is in jeopardy.
"The fellow that came to the door told me that he already had six other addresses that this had happened with, and I believe most of them were in this area."
She hopes anyone else whose identity might be used for FEMA assistance finds out before it's too late.
More information about how to report FEMA fraud can be found here. FEMA’s toll-free Disaster Fraud Hotline is 866-720-5721.
FEMA and local disaster workers do not solicit or accept money. FEMA will not offer financial help and then ask for money or personal information. It also warns that FEMA will not contact you unless you have called FEMA first or applied for assistance. FEMA representatives will ask for social security and bank account numbers when you apply and may ask for them again after you apply. Be cautious when giving this information to others who ask for it. Scam artists may pose
as government officials, aid workers, or insurance company employees.
If a FEMA representative knocks on your door, ask to see their ID badge. All FEMA representatives carry an identification badge with a photograph. A FEMA shirt or jacket is not proof of identity.