Storm survivors encouraged to be leery of scams

Alabama survivors affected by the April 28 through May 5 severe storms, tornadoes and flooding are urged to watch for and report any suspicious activity or potential fraud.As government agencies and charitable groups continue to provide disaster assistance, scam artists, identity thieves and other criminals may attempt to prey on people.{} The Federal Emergency Management Agency says the most common post-disaster fraud practices include phony housing inspectors, fraudulent building contractors, bogus pleas for disaster donations and fake offers of state or federal aid.One survivor reported getting a phone call from someone claiming to be from FEMA.{} The caller wanted the person's bank account information and debit card number.{} FEMA warns no federal employee will call or text asking for financial account information.{} Also keep in mind, there is no fee required to apply for or to get disaster assistance from FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration or the state.If you suspect a scam, call the toll free FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721. Complaints also may be made by contacting local law enforcement agencies.