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FEMA Warns Some Harvey Victims Of A Fraud Scheme

The agency wants to make sure that everyone knows that its home inspectors never need to ask for the applicant’s registration number, they already have it

 

 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)  is warning some Harvey victims of fraud. The agency is sending letters to some people that applied for assistance from FEMA letting them know that their application is being held up because of a potential link to fraud.

A FEMA press release says an extensive review of system security logs found no indications of compromise to the system: 

 

 

FEMA Encourages Survivors to Be Aware Of And Report Fraudulent Activities
 

 

WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently became aware of potentially suspicious activity related to the recovery from hurricanes and the wildfires including fraudulent registrations.  Extensive review of FEMA system security logs found no indications of compromise to the system; however, FEMA and its partners are taking necessary steps to determine impacts of the fraudulent activities and to implement long-term solutions.  To address these instances, FEMA is notifying survivors, by phone or mail and is instituting additional verification and controls in cases where there was suspicious activity, to ensure that only eligible applicants receive assistance. 

DHS’ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) aggressively investigates allegations of disaster fraud after every federally declared disaster, and works with other law enforcement agencies to identify and prosecute individuals who take advantage of programs meant to help those in need.

FEMA is encouraging disaster survivors from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and the California Wildfires to watch for and report any suspicious activity or potential fraud from scam artists, identity thieves and other criminals attempting to defraud the government.  In every disaster, it is important to provide information to the public on how to guard against fraud and report suspicious activity.

FEMA remains committed to ensuring that all claims for assistance from eligible applicants are reviewed and processed appropriately.  There are several options for survivors to report suspicious activity or disaster fraud. They can contact DHS OIG at 1-800-323-8603, TTY 1-844-889-4357.  A fraud complaint may also be completed online at the OIG’s website, http://www.oig.dhs.gov, faxed to 202-254-4297 or mailed to: DHS Office of Inspector General; Mail Stop 0305; Department of Homeland Security; 245 Murray Drive SW; Washington DC 20528-0305.  Survivors can also call FEMA’s Office of the Chief Security Officer (OCSO) Tip line at 1-866-223-0814 or email to: FEMA-OCSO-Tipline@fema.dhs.gov.  If survivors discover someone is misusing their information, they should file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission through their website IdentityTheft.gov.

If survivors have a question about their FEMA application, they should contact FEMA at 800-621-3362 (FEMA) or TTY 800-462-7585.
 

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A FEMA spokesperson says they’re not commenting on how many people received the letter or how victims’ information may have been compromised, but they do advise people that FEMA home inspectors NEVER need to ask for your FEMA registration number: They have it.

All FEMA inspectors  have an ID badge with an encryption chip, like most new credit cards.

 

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