The Sonoma County District Attorney warns residents of scams involving fake applications for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance.
DA Jill Ravitch said her office has received several reports from residents whose personal information, including their social security numbers, had been used to file a fraudulent FEMA application.
Some victims reported that they attempted to apply for FEMA assistance, only to find that someone had already applied under their name. Some learned of the scam when actual FEMA-affiliated inspectors came to their homes to ask about applications they had never filed.
Sonoma County residents should be aware that FEMA will not send inspectors to your residence unless you have filed an application for assistance, Ravitch warned. FEMA inspectors will not collect personal identifying information or bank account information at your residence. This information will only be requested when a person fills out the application online or at a Local Assistance Center.
All FEMA employees and contractors will have federally-issued photo identification badges, which you should request to see. If an individual shows up at your home to conduct a FEMA inspection and you have not filed an application for assistance, FEMA requests that you immediately contact the Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General at (800) 323-8603 or www.oig.dhs.gov.
If you attempt to file an application for assistance, but find that someone has already filed an application in your name, FEMA requests that you call the FEMA Office of the Chief Security Office at (866) 223-0814 or report at [email protected],