Authorities warn about scams rising from area tornadoes

Authorities are warning about possible scams being played on those affected by recent tornadoes.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, after disasters, con-artists and criminals may try to get money or steal personal information through fraud or identity theft. Some even disguise themselves or pretend to be from the federal agency.

The agency says that FEMA officials are working in the area affected by the March 31st and April 1st storms. But they have official identification badges with photo IDs. Real representatives never charge applicants for disaster assistance, inspections or help in filling out applications. You should be careful of unexpected phone calls or visits to your home from people claiming to be FEMA housing inspectors or people claiming they work for FEMA. If they are a real inspector, they will have your FEMA application number.

Don’t believe anyone who promises a disaster grant in return for payment. And don’t give your banking information to a person claiming to be a FEMA housing inspector. Those inspectors are never allowed to accept payments or collect your personal financial information.

In some cases, thieves may try to apply for FEMA assistance using names, addresses and Social Security numbers they have stolen from survivors.

To report a suspected case of disaster fraud, call the Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721.