Avoiding scams and fraud
Avoiding scams and fraud after natural disasters
Watch out for scams that follow disasters, such as home repairs fraud and scam artists impersonating FEMA and power company officials.
Ask for official ID from anyone claiming to be from the government, power company or insurance company. All FEMA employees carry picture IDs with them.
Do not pay for work upfront. Inspect the work and make sure you are satisfied before you pay. Make sure you have a written contract that details the work to be done and completion date.
Avoid paying cash. Use checks or credit cards. Keep receipts.
Watch for contractors who have no physical address or refuse to show ID.
Beware of contractors who claim to be endorsed by FEMA: FEMA does not certify or approve contractors.
Use contractors backed by reliable references. Demand that the contractor has liability insurance, workmen’s compensation and is bonded.
Check credentials and contact the North Carolina Attorney General’s office and Better Business Bureau to learn about any complaints against the contractor. Get the certificate of insurance directly from the insurance company and not from the contractor.
Do not share personal information with anyone who contacts you that you do not know. Legitimate workers do not ask for social security numbers, bank accounts or other personal information.
Do not pay for disaster assistance applications. FEMA does not charge for inspections or help filling out applications.
If your property has been damaged by a disaster, contact your insurance company first. Some insurance companies require the adjuster’s approval before work can be done.
For car repairs, shop around and compare estimates. You are entitled to written estimates from the car mechanic for car repairs.
Contact the North Carolina Attorney General’s office if you suspect a scam or potential fraud at 1-877-566-7226.
Contact FEMA at 1-800-621-3362.