FEMA warns Georgians to stay alert to fraud

Sep. 13—VALDOSTA — FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, released a statement Wednesday morning warning Hurriane Idalia survivors to stay alert against fraud attempts.

"Hurricane Idalia survivors should be aware that con artists and criminals may try to obtain money or steal personal information through fraud or identity theft scams after a disaster. In some cases, thieves try to apply for FEMA assistance using names, addresses and Social Security numbers they have stolen from survivors. In other instances, imposters may pretend to be officials of FEMA or other government agencies," the statement said.

The agency released tips for residents to keep in mind during the near future:

▪ If a FEMA inspector comes to your home and you did not submit a FEMA application, your information may have been used without your knowledge to create a FEMA application. If so, please inform the inspector that you did not apply for FEMA assistance so they can submit a request to stop further processing of the application.

▪ If you did not apply for assistance but receive a letter from FEMA, call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. The helpline will submit a request to stop any further processing of that application.

▪ If you do wish to apply for FEMA assistance after stopping an application made in your name without your knowledge, the Helpline will assist you in creating a new application.

FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance crews, housing inspectors and other officials will be working in areas impacted by Hurricane Idalia in Cook, Glynn and Lowndes counties.

The FEMA crews have not officially established a location, according to officials Tuesday. When one is set up, an update will be made to the EMA Lowndes Facebook page.

When they do arrive, the crew members will carry official FEMA identification badges with photo IDs.

FEMA and U.S. Small Business Administration representatives never charge applicants for disaster assistance, inspections or help in filling out applications.


▪ Don't believe anyone who promises a disaster grant in return for payment.

▪ Be wary of unexpected phone calls or visits to your home from people claiming to be FEMA housing inspectors or people claiming they work for FEMA. FEMA representatives will have your nine-digit FEMA application number.

▪ Don't give your banking information to a person claiming to be a FEMA housing inspector. FEMA inspectors are never authorized to collect your personal financial information.