After storms, there are often reports of people posing as FEMA and other government representatives in the community. Official FEMA agents and contractors will have:
An identifying card on a lanyard that displays their name, photo, “FEMA Contractor” and “DHS” printed on the identification card.
And electronic tablet with the resident’s FEMA/DHS number.
They will ask the resident to positively identify themselves so they know they are meeting with the property owner. The citizen should ask the FEMA contractor for their FEMA/DHS number to verify identity.
Be cautious about giving out personal information. Call police to report any suspicious activity or person. To register for FEMA services, call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY).
Attorney General Paxton advises Texans to consider the following tips when in need of businesses or contractors to help in the clean-up and rebuilding process:
Only do business with licensed or bonded contractors or builders.
Consult the Better Business Bureau to ensure you are working with a trustworthy business.
Contact an insurance adjuster to get an estimate of the damage and repair cost.
Be wary of contractors who solicit services door-to-door, especially those who are unfamiliar or from out of town.
Know that under Texas law, door-to-door a seller must advise you orally and in writing that you have a right to cancel the sale within three days.
Get the salesperson’s license plate number as well as a cell phone photo of the person, vehicle and license plate.
Don’t rush into signing a contract and never pay upfront for promised work.
Secure the terms of any warranty work in writing.
Ask for references or rely on recommendations from friends or relatives who have experience with honest contractors.
Although Texas’ price gouging law prohibits vendors from illegally raising prices to reap exorbitant profits during a disaster, it does allow retailers to pass along wholesale price increases to customers. Thus, in some cases, increased prices may not necessarily signal illegal price gouging.