IEMA warns residents to be vigilant against tornado scams - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

IEMA warns residents to be vigilant against tornado scams

Posted: Updated:
CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

State officials are warning residents affected by the recent tornadoes to be wary of potential scammers looking to take advantage of vulnerable survivors.

Scammers could pose as employees of state or federal emergency agencies in an attempt to gather personal information from tornado victims, according to an alert issued by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

IEMA has already received multiple reports from Bridgeport of a female caller claiming to be from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and asking tornado victims to disclose personal information in order to process a prepaid credit card, according to the release.

Federal aid is not currently available for regions affected by the storms, according to the release.

In the event that federal aid does become available for tornado survivors, FEMA employees would never reach out via phone and ask people for sensitive private information, IEMA said. The release also noted that FEMA does not offer prepaid credit cards.

While state and federal officials are currently assessing tornado damage, residents are advised to ask for official identification if they're suspicious of anybody that approaches them claiming to be from FEMA or IEMA.

Other common post-disaster scams include fake housing inspectors, building contractors and donation solicitors. Anybody who is contacted with an offer and suspects fraud is asked to report the incident to local law enforcement.

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