Disasters often bring out criminals looking to prey on survivors who appear to be easy targets for their scams.
Survivors should be aware that fraud and scams can occur anytime. FEMA encourages survivors to be alert and report any suspicious activity or potential fraud by scam artists, identity thieves and other criminals.
Anyone who suspects fraud, waste, abuse or mismanagement involving disaster relief should call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721, email StopFEMAFraud@fema.dhs.gov or write to: FEMA Fraud and Internal Investigation Division, 400 C Street SW Mail Stop 3005, Washington, DC 20472-3005.
Scam artists may pose as government officials, aid workers, charitable organizations, or insurance employees. Never trust anyone who claims to be a disaster assistance employee and asks for money. Local and federal disaster assistance workers do not ask for or accept money.
All FEMA representatives wear a photo ID badge. A FEMA shirt is not absolute proof of identity.
If you have questions about whether someone is representing FEMA, call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. If you use a relay service such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA your number for that service when you call.
FEMA home inspectors are currently working in Caledonia, Chittenden, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Rutland, Washington, Windham and Windsor counties to assist with recovery efforts. FEMA inspectors will already have your nine-digit registration number, and will never ask for money, banking information or your Social Security number.
If an inspector comes to your home and you did not submit a FEMA application, your information may have been used to apply without your knowledge. If so, inform the inspector that you did not apply, and they will submit a request to stop further processing of the application.
FEMA recommends you monitor your credit report for any accounts or changes you do not recognize. If you discover someone is using your information, you will need to take additional steps, including filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission through its website: IdentityTheft.gov.
When you rebuild, always use licensed and bonded contractors. Ask for credentials before you hire, and never pay for work in advance. FEMA does not have “approved” contractors. Beware of contractors who say they’re affiliated with FEMA: FEMA does not endorse any business, product or service. Don’t sign anything you don’t understand, or contracts with blank spaces.
To watch an accessible video about disaster fraud, visit FEMA Accessible: Beware Scam Artists (Open Captioned) – YouTube.
FEMA is committed to ensuring disaster assistance is accomplished equitably, without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. Any disaster survivor or member of the public may contact the FEMA Civil Rights Office if they feel that they are the victim of discrimination. FEMA’s Civil Rights Office can be contacted toll-free at 833-285-7448. Multilingual operators are available.
For the latest information on Vermont’s recovery, visit fema.gov/disaster/4720. Follow the FEMA Region 1 account on Twitter at twitter.com/FEMARegion1, the FEMA Facebook page at facebook.com/FEMA, or Vermont Emergency Management on Twitter at twitter.com/vemt and on Facebook at facebook.com/VermontEmergencyManagement.