BATON ROUGE, Louisiana – As Louisiana flood victims begin to pick up the scraps of what is left of their homes and communities in the wake of unprecedented flooding, federal agencies are already warning residents to be cautious of fraudulent services and other scams.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) asked that flood victims be careful when dealing with supposed housing inspectors who pose as FEMA or U.S. Small Business Administration employees.
FEMA inspectors already have each applicant’s nine-digit registration number and a FEMA inspector will not ask it. FEMA inspectors also never require banking or other personal information from flood victims.
The job of FEMA housing inspectors is to verify damage done to a home in the aftermath of disaster. Inspectors hiring, endorsing or recommending specific contractors that homeowners should use are likely to be fraudulent.
Flood victims are also urged to be wary of “middlemen” promising grant money, especially when homeowners are asked for an upfront payment.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is also warning homeowners about charity scams, where flood victims are sent endless emails malware-infected websites.
Additionally, donation requests from fraudulent charitable organizations commonly appear after major natural disasters, and those looking to donate to flooding victims should do so through a verified faith-based organization or the American Red Cross.
Fraudulent services and scams are not new to southern flood victims.
In the aftermath of storms like Hurricane Katrina, contractors knowingly using what’s known as “Chinese drywall” to rebuild homes for victims was a major issue in the months and years following the natural disaster.
General Landry is asking homeowners to authenticate contractors before hiring them for the job, making multiple copies of contracts and taking photos of the vehicles and contractors themselves.
John Binder is a contributor for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.