FEMA warns Kentuckians to watch out for disaster fraud, scammers

Kentucky

FRANKFORT, KY (WOWK) – Officials with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security FEMA program and the State of Kentucky are warning people to be wary of potential disaster fraud and scams.

The warning comes after President Joe Biden approved Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s request for a major disaster declaration from the federal government in early April following severe storms, ice storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides that happened between Feb. 27 and March 14.

“When natural disasters occur, it is common for some people to try to take advantage of survivors by posing as official disaster aid workers trying to help survivors complete their applications,” FEMA officials said.

Officials are asking anyone who was affected by the severe weather that impacted the Bluegrass State earlier this year to be aware of the potential scams and report any suspicious activity that could be potential fraud from scammers, identity thieves and others attempting to commit fraud. Scam attempts can happen over the phone, by email, text or mail, or even in person.

Federal and state workers say they will never ask for or accept money and they always carry identification badges. They also say there is no required fee to apply for or get federal disaster assistance or for FEMA home inspections.

“During each disaster, it’s important to stay tuned to local media and trusted local and federal social
media for current updates about ongoing disasters and tips on fraud prevention,” FEMA officials said.

Officials say if something makes you uncomfortable, you question a contact’s validity or suspect fraud, call local law enforcement or the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721. FEMA officials also recommend monitoring your credit report. If you see any accounts of changes you do not recognize or discover someone is using your information, additional steps will need to be taken. This includes filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission on its website.

For tips to protect people from falling for charity scams and a list of registered charitable organizations, visit the Kentucky Attorney General’s website.

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