7 On Your Side
Tips to avoid FEMA and charity scammers
NEW YORK (WABC) -- People are vulnerable right now, and desperate for help from anyone.
FEMA tells us that impersonators literally follow them around the country and in Darien, police say a guy showed up pretending to be with FEMA, wanted to be shown the interior of a house but when the homeowner asked for I.D. he took off.
In Belmar on the Jersey shore a group of FEMA fakers descended just after Sandy hit but the town administrators says they quickly got chased out of town.
Real FEMA teams like this one canvassing Red Hook wear FEMA jackets or shirts and carry FEMA I.D.'s.
Storm victims should know FEMA inspectors who must enter your home to document damage do not randomly show up unannounced.
Appointments are scheduled after individuals register for federal disaster relief.
FEMA inspectors inspecting your property will confirm your registration number upon arrival. If they don't have your federal I.D. number, do not let them in.
"They are looking to steal your valuables and maybe even hurt you," said Lt. Anthony Mancuso, a 29-year veteran of the FDNY. He says recently someone pretending to be with Con Ed tried to con their way into a home.
"Right now people are ending up in people's homes could be Con Ed, could be not, could be anywhere doesn't matter they should have proper I.D," said Lt. Mancuso.
Make sure you ook at I.D.'s carefully so the photo should match the person in front of you and the picture shouldn't be pasted on. If you're suspicious call the company and confirm.
The same goes for charity solicitations, legitimate charities like Samaritan's Purse helping Hurricane Sandy victims are registered in the states where they're operating.
Before you donate: investigate.
Be wary of cold calls from charities - and never give your bank account number over the phone or in an email and be wary of requests for donations on social media.
"Every time we have a natural disaster, you see these charities pop up unregistered, charities asking for money popping on Facebook. There are tons of legitimate charities, there are charities registering with us. Stick with those," Eric Kanefsky, Acting Director NJ Consumer Affairs, said.
Here are some charities to make sure your money is going to the victims who really need it right now.
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