FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BE CAREFUL WHEN HIRING CONTRACTORS FOR DISASTER REPAIRS
WISE, Va. — State and federal disaster recovery officials advise Virginia residents who have disaster-related damage to be careful when hiring unknown contractors to clean up and repair their homes and businesses.
“It’s unfortunate, but disasters often bring scam artists into the area to take advantage of the situation,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Louis Botta. “Some scam artists claim to be ‘FEMA certified.’ The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) neither certifies nor endorses any private-sector contractor.”
Residents must be especially alert for door-to-door solicitors who hand out make-shift flyers and promise to speed up the insurance or government claims process.
State Coordinating Officer Michael Cline said, “All FEMA and Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) personnel carry photo identification and flood victims should never hesitate to ask to see it.”
Emergency management officials also offer the following suggestions on how to be a wise consumer:
Consumers who have problems with a contractor or have been victims of fraud are urged to contact one of the following agencies:
Virginia State Corporation Commission
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Be ready. Be willing to help.
Virginia Disaster Relief Fund
How is the money distributed?
Fund proceeds will be distributed to local long-term recovery groups, members of the Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and other non-profit and faith-based organizations as a grant.
Many of these groups work directly with individuals and families following a disaster.
How else can I donate?
The Virginia Disaster Relief Fund benefits projects that include: repair or rebuilding of underinsured dwellings, transportation assistance, replacing essential household items, helping renters establish new rental residence, temporary living expenses while recovering from loss, and more.
How can I donate?
If you want to help, send checks made payable to the Treasurer of Virginia with “Virginia Disaster Relief Fund” noted in the memo line to:
P.O. Box 1971
Richmond, VA 23218-1971