Published: November 8, 2017
Sonoma County and Napa have received complaints of persons identifying themselves as “FEMA inspectors” coming to resident’s homes and asking for personal information. Reports have also been received that false FEMA claims have been filed using resident’s personal information such as social security numbers and when the resident attempts to file for aid they are advised an application has already been filed under their name.
FEMA will not send inspectors to your residence unless you have filed an application for assistance. 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 FEMA-OCSO-Tipline@fema.dhs.gov. Contacting FEMA as soon as possible may prevent payment to the individual responsible for the fraud. You can find more information at https://www.disasterassistance.gov.
If you have been a victim of this scam, you may also be a victim of identity theft. You should take the following steps: report the crime to the police and ask the police to issue a police report of identity theft and advised them you have reported to FEMA; report the fraud to the three major credit bureaus,
carefully review your credit reports for accounts you do not recognize or inquiries you did not authorize; and consider a credit monitoring service or a credit freeze for protection against new accounts being opened in your name. You can find more information on what to do if you suspect you are a victim of identity theft on the Attorney General’s website at https://oag.ca.gov/idtheft/facts/victim-checklist