SANTA ROSA (KRON) — The FBI is teaming up with local police to help fight scams targeting North Bay Firestorm victims.
The Disaster Fraud Task Force task force was put together not only to catch and prosecute those accused of fraud but also to help families avoid some of those schemes out there.
“During disasters, there are a lot of criminals, con artists, scam artists that come out of the woodwork and prey on victims,” FEMA spokesman William Lindsey said.
This is a known fact. But the federal government means business.
The FBI teamed up with more than a dozen federal, local, and state agencies, including FEMA and the United States Attorney’s Office, to crack down on fraud.
Culprits are getting smarter with time. The FBI says this new task force will be using intelligence from other disasters to identify some trending areas of fraud in the wildfire disaster that hit Northern California.
In the meantime, families are advised to secure mailboxes and be aware of phony officials.
“Phony scammers will ask for money,” Linsey said. “Even if they’re wearing a FEMA jacket, doesn’t make them legit. Ask for ID, and if they don’t surrender that right away, that’s a red flag as well.”
The current task force will have open communication between agencies dealing with the wildfire aftermath.
In order to deter more criminals, investigations, and prosecution, will continue.
“There are criminals, scammers, thieves out there that are trying to take your money, so we have to take necessary precautions,” Lindsey said.
There are still some families that have not registered with FEMA. There’s still time to get help .
The deadline is Monday.
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