Police: watch out for flood scam

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Local residents need to be careful when approached by people claiming to be from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or the Small Business Administration (SBA). One scam artist has been reported in the area according to FEMA representative Greg Hughes.

"We have had one report in Putnam County so far of someone claiming to be with FEMA who was not part of any of our teams," Hughes said.

Hughes urged flood-affected residents to ask for and check the identification of any inspector, loss verifier, contractor or other personnel who may visit them to survey their damages.

FEMA representatives wear blue shirts and have photo ID's.

Along with local inspectors, who are out visiting homes to assess damages, FEMA inspectors, community relations teams, SBA loss verifiers, local building inspectors, private contractors and volunteer workers are also canvassing flood affected neighborhoods.

With so many people serving flood victims, it's important that residents and business owners proceed with caution and take the time to carefully inspect the identification of those who may be visiting them. If an inspector refuses to show ID, contact local law enforcement authorities immediately.

The following may be helpful:

* FEMA inspectors carry proper photo identification and will arrive at the home after making an appointment.

* FEMA inspectors never ask for money, and the inspection is free.

* FEMA inspectors do not recommend specific repairs.

* FEMA inspectors do not hire contractors, nor do they recommend contractors.

* FEMA inspectors do not put a dollar amount on damages.

* SBA loss verifiers wear photo ID and will also call and make an appointment before coming to conduct their estimates of losses.

If you are approached by anyone suspicious or asked for money by any person saying they represent FEMA or SBA call local law enforcement immediately to report it.

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