Disaster Scams

How to Avoid Being Scammed

  1. Check the authenticity of the organization – charity, non-profit or insurance – before sending money or getting involved.
  2. Safeguard personal information. Never give out SSN or credit card info to someone you have not fully checked out. There is never a fee to apply for FEMA disaster assistance or to receive it.
  3. Never act immediately. If someone presses you, tell them you’ll get back to them later. All reputable organizations will give you time to think things over.

Scheme Information

Disaster Scams

Disaster Scams

The BP Oil Spill on the Gulf was the worst in history and the aftermath included thousands of people applying for Government assistance, and some of them con artists.


Disaster Scams

Investigations revealed that 87 people had falsely claimed this massive spill cost them their jobs at a seafood processing plant but none of them had ever worked there.


Disaster Scams

The taxpayer was left footing the bill at $352,000 but fortunately the rip off artists were easily caught. If you suspect a disaster scam, report it to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.


After a disaster strikes, many well-meaning people and groups come together to help survivors. Unfortunately, disasters can also bring out criminals looking to make a quick buck. After Hurricane Katrina took many lives, and negatively impacted many more, $1.4 billion in federal aid was reportedly used by fraudsters who disguised themselves as people associated with Katrina relief. Fake addresses as well as stolen Social Security numbers were used from dead victims to receive rental aide payments.

Victims should watch out for phone or door-to-door solicitors who hand out makeshift flyers and promise to speed up the insurance process or who ask for large cash payments before repair work is done. You need to be careful before writing a check to a lesser-known source that is collecting donations, or an insurance agency that promises to cover the heavy expenses for your damaged walls. Even in grieving period, scam artists are up to speed with their business - duping innocent people. If you suspect a scam, let us know. You might be a target, but you don’t have to be a victim.