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City warns flood victims about fraud and scams

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 by Elizabeth Pagano

Yesterday, local officials warned area residents impacted by flooding to be aware of and report suspicious activity or fraud. The city said, “Some of the most common post-disaster fraud practices include fraudulent housing inspectors, building contractors, pleas for donations and fake offers of disaster aid.” As measures of precaution, they advise people to act cautiously and research individuals and companies. They also note, “Disaster survivors should also keep in mind that relief workers always carry photo identification badges and do not ask for or accept money. There is no fee required to apply for or to get disaster assistance. Additionally, local disaster assistance agencies will not call to ask for private financial account information. Unless a survivor calls a charity or agency, personal information should not be given over the phone.” According to a press release about the issue, those wishing to complain “can call local law enforcement, or the Disaster Fraud Hotline at (866) 720-5721, fax at 225-334-4707 or email disaster@leo.gov. Calls can be made anonymously and confidentially. Residents can also report scams (including remolding/repair scams and price gouging) to the Texas Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 621-0508. The Austin Regional Office is at 300 West 15th Street, 9th Floor, PO Box 12548, Austin, Texas 78711-2548. The local telephone numbers are 512-463-2185 (office) or 512-473-8301 (fax).”

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