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FEMA Officials Warn Flood Victims of Scam Artists

Kara Lofton
West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Marsha Larch stands on her front porch surrounded by 50 years worth of belongings. Larch is saving what she can and then abandoning her home, which is about to slide into the river behind the house in Clendenin

Flood victims should be on the lookout for scammers claiming to be from FEMA or the state of West Virginia.

According to the city of Alderson, at least twice a scam artist called flood victims in their town. The caller said they were with FEMA and ready to make a large settlement if they would just give up personal information to complete the claim.

FEMA spokesperson Greg Hughes says his agency has seen this before. “FEMA never asks for any kind of sensitive personal information, by telephone.”

FEMA does contact disaster survivors by phone to make appointments to inspect damaged property or, possibly, to follow-up with an applicant to ensure they receive every dollar for which they are eligible. But federal and state workers do not solicit or accept money. FEMA and U.S. Small Business Administration staff never charge applicants for disaster assistance, inspections or help in filling out applications.

Those who need assistance can register by calling 800-621-FEMA or visiting disasterassistance.gov.

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