Ottawa, Ohio, August 30, 2007 -- FEMA Community Relations (CR) representative Heather Taluba (right) shows a local resident the look of the proper FEMA credentials. During disaster recovery affected residents must be on the lookout for possible fraud. Mark Wolfe/FEMA

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Many people and organizations come together to support the needs of those affected by a disaster. Unfortunately, some people prey on those disaster survivors by offering fraudulent services.


Learn how to protect yourself and your finances from additional loss. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers reminders to help you avoid disaster fraud, including:

Do not pay a fee to apply for FEMA disaster assistance or to receive it. FEMA does not charge a fee for these services.
Get three written estimates for repair work. Check the credentials of the repair company. Contact your local Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce to learn about any complaints against the contractor or business.
Make sure you obtain a written contract with all the services and costs before work begins. The contract should include a projected completion date. It should also outline ways to negotiate changes and settle disputes.
Do not pay anything without a signed contract. Pay only by check or a credit card. A reasonable down payment may be required to buy materials for some projects.
Check out the full list of disaster fraud tips. Visit DisasterAssistance.gov to learn more.

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