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April 30, 2011

Beware of disaster scams during recovery

Residents in the Tennessee counties affected by recent storms and flooding are urged to be careful of scams during recovery efforts.

In a typical scheme, someone pretends to be employed by the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) or other government agencies, such as the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) or Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). A TEMA, SBA or FEMA shirt, jacket or hat is not proof of someone’s affiliation with these agencies. Authorized personnel wear a laminated photo identification card at all times.

Anyone who notices suspicious activity in his or her neighborhood or who suspects that someone is trying to commit fraud by going door-to-door or by making contact by phone or mail should immediately call the local police at 9-1-1.

Tennesseans who suspect anyone of committing disaster fraud, whether as a contractor, inspector, or even a disaster survivor offering to do work-for-hire, or who suspect someone is posing as any of these, either in person or on the phone or on the Internet, should call the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs toll free at 1-800-342-8385.