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Wildfire victims beware of scams and fraudulent phone calls

State and federal recovery officials urge California residents to watch for and report any suspicious activity or potential fraud from scam artists, identity thieves and other criminals who may try to prey on vulnerable survivors of the October wildfires.

Posted: Dec 4, 2017 3:15 PM

State and federal recovery officials urge California residents to watch for and report any suspicious activity or potential fraud from scam artists, identity thieves and other criminals who may try to prey on vulnerable survivors of the October wildfires.

Common post-disaster fraud practices include:

• Fake offers of state or federal aid:

o Beware if anyone claiming to be from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or the state visits, calls or emails asking for an applicant’s Social Security number, bank account number or other sensitive information.

o Avoid scam artists who promise a disaster grant and ask for cash deposits or advance payments in full.

o Know that federal workers do not solicit or accept money. FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) staff never charge applicants for disaster assistance, inspections or help in filling out applications. Do not give out information and report people claiming to be government workers to local police.

o Provide your Social Security number and banking information only when registering for FEMA assistance, either by calling 800-621-3362, TTY 800-462-7585, or going online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or the smart phone FEMA App. If you use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services, call 800-621-3362. Operators are multilingual and calls are answered from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

• Phony housing inspectors: Owners/applicants may be especially vulnerable to phony housing inspectors claiming to represent FEMA or SBA. An applicant should always:

o Ask to see the inspector’s identification badge. All federal employees and contractors carry official, laminated photo identification.

o Inspectors also have each applicant’s nine-digit registration number.

o FEMA inspectors never require banking information.

It is important to note that FEMA housing inspectors verify damage, but do not hire or endorse specific contractors to fix homes or recommend repairs. They do not determine your eligibility for assistance.

• Fraudulent building contractors: When hiring a contractor, be sure to:

o Use licensed local contractors backed by reliable references.

o Demand that contractors carry general liability insurance and worker’s compensation.

• Bogus pleas for post-disaster donations: Unscrupulous solicitors may play on the sympathy for disaster survivors. Disaster aid solicitations may arrive by phone, email, letter or face-to-face visits. Verify legitimate solicitation:

o Ask for the charity’s exact name, street address, phone number, and Web address, then call the charity directly and confirm that the person asking for funds is an employee or volunteer.

o Don’t pay with cash.

o Request a receipt with the charity’s name, street address, phone number and Web address (if applicable).

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 310885

Reported Deaths: 6955
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1274393744
Riverside24765537
Orange22650412
San Diego18863420
San Bernardino18275304
Imperial7759132
Fresno762787
Alameda7485147
San Joaquin627968
Kern619597
Santa Clara5863166
Tulare5678152
Sacramento515279
Contra Costa446088
Stanislaus436450
San Francisco431650
Ventura409353
Santa Barbara386829
San Mateo3846112
Marin336430
Kings285539
Monterey241918
Solano207528
Merced179312
Sonoma156114
Placer102111
San Luis Obispo9054
Madera8578
Yolo83928
Santa Cruz5373
Napa4774
Butte3384
Sutter3374
San Benito3112
El Dorado3070
Lassen2610
Shasta1766
Humboldt1654
Glenn1640
Nevada1631
Yuba1633
Lake1081
Mendocino1070
Colusa1030
Tehama981
Calaveras670
Tuolumne640
Del Norte600
Mono491
Siskiyou410
Amador360
Inyo341
Mariposa311
Plumas170
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
100° wxIcon
Hi: 103° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 100°
Oroville
Clear
102° wxIcon
Hi: 104° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 102°
Paradise
Clear
100° wxIcon
Hi: 96° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 100°
Chester
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 86°
Red Bluff
Clear
101° wxIcon
Hi: 104° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 101°
Willows
Clear
100° wxIcon
Hi: 106° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 100°
There is a Red Flag Warning in Modoc county today and tomorrow with temperatures getting as hot as 110 degrees for some in the Valley by Wednesday.
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