As Florida residents brace for Hurricane Irma, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is rushing to counter fake news and internet scams about the incoming disaster.
FEMA launched a “rumor control” page Friday night in an attempt to combat the spread of misinformation about the hurricane. The page is meant to confirm true information that might be dismissed as internet rumors, as well as debunking actual rumors or outright scams.
— FEMA (@fema) September 8, 2017
“There may be reports from businesses that a FEMA list exists that permits travel into the disaster areas. If a business is not on the list, they may not do business in the area,” one FEMA entry reads. “This is FALSE.”
“There may be reports of FEMA inspectors asking for personal information or charging for services such as damage inspections or contractor repairs,” another entry states. “This is a SCAM.”
FEMA warns: “Scam artists may pose as government officials, aid workers, charitable organizations, or insurance company employees.”
The agency recommends hurricane victims follow steps in order to avoid being duped by scam artists, and recommends Americans contact the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 if they suspect fraud.