As some citizens may have noticed, post storm damage has unfortunately brought scammers and con artists to the Parish posing as FEMA representatives or other officials claiming to be there for storm damage. They may try to obtain money or steal personal information to commit identify theft or to use that personal information to register through FEMA using your stolen information.
Citizens should be aware of phony property inspections, phony building contractors, anyone claiming to be offering FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance and anyone offering Blue Roof Programs. Here are some facts to know, per FEMA:
1. Be on alert if somebody asks for your nine-digit registration number. FEMA inspectors will never ask for this information. They already have it in their records.
2. Housing inspectors never charge a fee to inspect your property.
3. FEMA does not hire or endorse specific contractors to fix homes or recommend repairs. A FEMA housing inspector’s job is to verify damage.
4. When in doubt, report any suspicious behavior to your local authorities.
5. Federal and local disaster workers do not solicit or accept money. Don’t trust anyone who offers financial help and then asks for money or personal information.
6. Blue Roof representatives never solicit your participation, nor will they ask for Social Security, bank account numbers or any compensation for this service. You must apply for the Blue Roof program and complete a Right of Entry form.
7. Ask to see ID badges. All FEMA representatives carry an identification badge with a photograph. A FEMA shirt or jacket is not proof of identity.
8. Do not disclose information to any unsolicited telephone calls and e-mails from individuals claiming to be FEMA or federal employees. FEMA will not contact you unless you have called FEMA first or applied for assistance.
To report scams, fraud and identity-theft contact FEMA’s toll-free Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721. You can also contact the Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Section, P.O. Box 94005, Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9005, fax: 225-326-6499. Lastly, you can visit https://arlspublic.lslbc.louisiana.gov/Home/Index.