Post-Disaster Scams

Disasters can strike anywhere/anytime, and so can scammers. Here are two types of common scams you may encounter after a disaster

  1. Impersonators -These individuals may pose as charities, property inspectors, IRS agents, or FEMA employees. These impersonators may contact you via phone, text, email, or show up at your door.
    1. FEMA property inspectors – Federal employees do not accept money and solicit. There is never a fee to apply for financial assistance or to have FEMA’s property inspectors inspect your property. If you are worried a FEMA official isn’t legit, call the FEMA helpline: 800-621-3326 7-11PM
    2. IRS Agents – can call 866-562-5227 for disaster-related tax assistance
    3. Charities – May create fake websites with names similar to well-known charities – You can also verify charities on
  2. Fraudulent contractors – You may be contacted by someone promising immediate debris removal or work- You may not recognize the company or they may claim to be a company you trust, but you have to pay up front and do not write a formal contract for the work -They may be licensed in New York but not Florida

Main takeaways

  1. Verify credentials of anyone claiming to be a federal employee
  2. Never give out your personal information – address, cc number, ss number, passwords
  3. Always have a written contract and verify the contractor’s license BEFORE any work is done/ ask to see proof of insurance
  4. When in doubt use caution and contact your local authorities