Cooper said con artists often pose as federal disaster aid workers.
"Con artists pretending to be government officials have tried to steal personal information and money following other disasters," said Cooper in a news release. "Be on the lookout for this scam popping up in North Carolina after Hurricane Irene."
Cooper offered some ways to avoid being ripped off:
- Ask for official ID. If someone comes to your door claiming to be with FEMA or another government agency, ask to see their official laminated photo ID. Do not be fooled by hats or clothing with government logos.
- Do not share personal information with anyone you don’t know who contacts you. Legitimate FEMA workers will not call you, email you or knock on your door to ask for information such as you Social Security Number or bank account number. If you decide to fill out an application for assistance, you will need to provide some personal information.
- Do not pay for disaster assistance help. FEMA does not charge for disaster inspections or help filling out applications for disaster assistance.
- FEMA does not certify or approve contractors. Beware of anyone going door-to-door offering to repair storm damaged homes, especially if they want money upfront and even if they claim to be endorsed by FEMA.
- When in doubt, contact government officials at a location, phone number or website you know to be valid, such as (800) 621-FEMA (3362), www.disasterassistance.gov, or m.fema.gov (for mobile devices).
- Report suspected fraud to local law enforcement. You can also report home repair scammers, charity scams, and price gouging to the Attorney General’s Office at (877) 5-NO-SCAM or www.ncdoj.gov .