Mayor: Be aware of scammers

Published 7:00 am Friday, March 18, 2016

As residents scramble to rebuilt their lives following last week’s flooding, others are looking to donate money to help those less fortunate.

In both cases, Bogalusa Mayor Wendy Perrette said residents should be wary of fraudsters.

The mayor said she urges residents to contribute money to organizations they know and trust. She said people should be especially wary of groups that have emerged just following last week’s flood.

In addition, Perrette said victims may also be targeted by scammers.

“Survivors should also keep in mind that state and federal workers never ask for or accept money, and always carry identification badges with a photograph,” she said. “There is no fee required to apply for or to get disaster assistance from FEMA, the US Small Business Administration (SBA) or the state. Additionally, no state of federal government disaster assistance agency will call to ask for your financial account information, unless you place a call to the agency yourself, you should not provide personal information over the phone-it can lead to identity theft.”

Perrette said victims of fraud or anyone who suspects a scam should call the authorities.

“Those who suspect fraud can call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721,” she said, adding that the number is toll-free. “Complaints may also be made to local law enforcement agencies.”