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Issue 143 - November 2012 (2nd Edition) - Page 13

Rumors Regarding FEMA and Hurricane Sandye

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Following a natural disaster, and especially one affecting a densely populated area as happened with Hurricane Sandy, it has become almost standard operating procedure for scammers and con-men to take advantage of the situation. 

In the US, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is typically asked by affected states to coordinate response to major disasters.  (Note: FEMA does not just ‘show up’ – they have to be requested by the affected state’s governor).   In the confusion and distress following a disaster, scammers and con-men simply throw out the word FEMA in the (often correct) belief that victims will be so glad someone is there to help they won’t ask too many questions. 

There are no examples listed here simply because this covers a multitude of issues. 

The first to be addressed, and presently the most frequently inquired about, is a currently trending twitter post claiming that FEMA is hiring work crews to assist in clean up in the New Jersey area, offering food, shelter and $1000 a week pay.  It includes a phone number – but the phone number is to a St. Augustine, Florida residence.  Obviously, this is not legitimate.  In this case it could simply be a mean spirited prank; however, other similar scams have been outright scams to obtain personal information from respondents. 

FEMA has already set up a “rumor control” page related to Sandy, which has information on other currently spreading rumors.

There are a number of other scams and cons that have been trotted out following major disasters – without attempting to compile an exhaustive list, the following are some of the most egregious:

Charity Scams – fake charities making appeals for donations
Processing Fee scams – scammers posing as FEMA personnel requiring a fee to process someone for disaster assistance
Phony inspectors – housing inspectors falsely claiming to be from FEMA that then direct the owner to a specific contractor or request a fee for the service
Contractor scams – unscrupulous contractors demanding payment up front or directing the homeowner to a specific lender to borrow the money for repair work.

Sadly, the list could go on for quite a ways, but the primary message here is to be alert to possible scams.  The following links are certainly not an inclusive list of scams, but are intended to give the reader a sense of how prevalent these scams are:

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Last updated: November 5, 2012
First published: November 5, 2012
Article written by David M. White
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Issue 143 Start Menu

Pages in this issue:
  1. Hoax - Texas Town Adds Sugar to Water Supply
  2. Hoax - Facebook Shutting Down on January 15, 2013
  3. Suncorp Bank '1 Unread Message' Phishing Scam
  4. US States Petition For Secession
  5. Survey Scam - Change Facebook to Black
  6. Missy, Dog Rescued From Colorado Mountain
  7. Adam Sandler is NOT Dead
  8. Monkey Orchid
  9. Dangerous Hoax - 'A Needle Can Save The Life of a Stroke Victim'
  10. Hoax - Oliver North Warned Congress About Osama Bin Laden in 1987
  11. Facebook Rogue App/Survey Scam - Free $100 McDonald's Gift Card
  12. USPS Malware Emails
  13. Rumors Regarding FEMA and Hurricane Sandy
  14. Australia Day Name Change Hoax Targets Prime Minister Gillard
  15. Webmail Account Phishing Scam
  16. Misinformation Regarding Straight Ticket Voting On 06 November 2012 US General Election
  17. December 2012 - 5 Saturdays, 5 Sundays and 5 Mondays
  18. Lil Wayne is NOT Dead
  19. More 2012 US Election Dissatisfaction: California's Prop 37