Sarasota Sheriff: Possible scammers posing as FEMA workers

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is warning about a possible new scam that has surfaced in the wake of Hurricane Irma. They’ve received reports of people posing as FEMA workers trying to get inside houses.

All throughout the Tampa Bay area, damaged roofs and debris piles are a nuisance to many homeowners. If they’re not careful, scammers could take advantage of them.

“Scammers, there’s always gonna be those people, there’s always gonna be those people. You just gotta be on the lookout. Be smart, don’t be dumb,” said Sarasota resident Richard Goodat.

Take this for example. The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office says on Wednesday evening, two women went to a gated community off Palmer Ranch Parkway.

They claimed they worked for FEMA and Freddie Mac and they needed to get inside a house for a home inspection. But, when they were told the homeowner never made a FEMA request, the pair quickly took off.

“Whenever there’s a disaster or as they say, blood in the streets, there’s always someone trying to make money off it. Its just not right,” said Michael Veautour.

Deputies say FEMA would never work this way.

“If you question whether or not they work for FEMA, ask for some identification,” said Sgt. Steve Leavitt.

Officials have also heard of scammers posing as FEMA officials over the phone. Scammers are also reportedly overcharging residents for debris removal.

“Don’t do anything on the spur of the moment,” said Sgt. Leavitt.

Officials say question everything and do your research.

Many locals are already on the lookout and some feel you can protect yourself from scammers by doing your own repair work.

“They don’t need to lean on the federal government or the city or the county to do it, just take care of it,” said Veautour.

FEMA, the US Army Corps of Engineers and county governments are providing resources to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. If you have any questions or concerns, call your county government.

Follow John Rogers on Facebook

STORIES OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON-

BACK TO TOP STORIES

WFLA.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s