Scammers target tornado victims, FEMA offers fraud hotline

Local News

TROTWOOD, Ohio (WDTN) – Time is running out to apply for FEMA benefits.

While federal representatives may call or visit you, they’ll never ask for money.

“We wont ask for anything beside the status of your application or to check if you have filed but that’s very rare,” said FEMA spokesperson Erin Gaddis.

Gaddis said FEMA has reached out to six Ohians asking for money back. A press release states, “FEMA, like other federal agencies, can reclaim federal funds that were given out by error or as the result of fraud, for example, but it never makes those demands by phone. The process, known as ‘recoupment,’ begins with an official letter from FEMA which lays out why the agency is asking for the refund and how much is involved.”

Gaddis explains that is not a scam.

“If you didn’t receive a notice of potential debt letter, then the rest of your correspondence should come in the mail. But, again it shouldn’t happen over the phone. It shouldn’t happen over email,” Gaddis said.

Any federal official who visits you at home will have a government issued badge to show you.

The disaster fraud hotline is not just to report people posing as government officials but for people posing as contractors.

“A lot of times scammers come out of the woodwork trying to come up with ideas for how to scam individuals who have been affected by a federal declared natural disaster,” Gaddis said.

Even if you are in a hurry to make repairs to your home, its better to take your time and make sure everything makes sense.

To report a potential disaster related scam, call 866-223-0814.

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