As flood victims across the United States turn their energy and resources to cleaning up, repairing and replacing their damaged property, people with disrupted lives are an easy mark for con artists, according to The Federal Emergency Management Agency.

A common scam occurs when a person poses as an inspector or loss verifier of flood-damaged property. Some of these “inspectors” charge a fee for what they do. Some may have official-looking identification that they use to get inside residents’ homes.

As flood victims across the United States turn their energy and resources to cleaning up, repairing and replacing their damaged property, people with disrupted lives are an easy mark for con artists, according to The Federal Emergency Management Agency.

A common scam occurs when a person poses as an inspector or loss verifier of flood-damaged property. Some of these “inspectors” charge a fee for what they do. Some may have official-looking identification that they use to get inside residents’ homes.

If someone comes to your door and says he or she is with a government agency or utility, insist on seeing identification. If you have any doubts, check with the agency they claim to represent.

Beware as well of fraudulent home repair salesmen or contractors. Before replacing an appliance, check to see whether it is usable. Often all that is needed is to clean the item thoroughly.

Check with the manufacturer for any special recommendations. A water heater, for example, is a sealed unit. If the sealed tank itself has not broken, even if it has been submerged, it may still work. Have the valves checked and, if necessary, cleaned.

If a gas-fired unit got wet, have it inspected by a licensed technician and a local government agent, if required, prior to the gas being turned back on. Once the unit has been certified as serviceable by the proper authorities, the gas company will restore service.

Electric water heaters may only need to have the element and/or thermostat replaced.

If someone takes your money, it may be impossible to get it back. If you suspect fraud, call the police, sheriff, or Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-451-1525.

On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA’s continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident.

***

Send a Letter to the Editor for publication.
Send a comment or news tip to our newsroom.
Please include the headline of the story.

Show Comments Hide Comments

Comments

Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Success!
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
He left Real Geeks and then came back. Why?Watch Now×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription