Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief held a press conference Thursday afternoon to discuss the concerns residents expressed over possible disaster-related scams in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
The mayor detailed the efforts of FEMA "door-to-door" Disaster Survivor Assistance teams. The teams are intended to help residents register and complete the process of applying for FEMA assistance.
However, Mayor Sharief said the county has received numerous calls from residents on how they can verify the authenticity of the DSA teams. Some were worried that crooks were posing as FEMA workers in effort to get access to personal information.
Sharief said residents should check for federal-issued ID cards and FEMA clothing before allowing a FEMA worker to enter their homes.
Applicants are required to provide their social security number and bank account information to FEMA workers in order to get assistance. However, Sharief said the DSA teams should not ask for cash.
"FEMA employees do not solicit or accept money from disaster survivors," the mayor added.
She urged residents to call local law enforcement if they feel unconformable with a person claiming to be a FEMA worker or if there's suspicion that someone is trying to pull a scam.
Residents can also call the FEMA Help Line at 800-621-3362, which is open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.