Fake FEMA inspectors have been spotted in a couple of Houston neighborhoods. But they didn’t do their research very well.
The neighborhoods they’ve hit did not even flood. That was the first red flag when a man knocked on Kathy Horner’s front door.
“And he identified himself as a FEMA inspector,” said Horner.
She said the man even looked the part.
“He did have a very official looking badge,” said Horner.
But she knew her family never filed a claim for flood damage.Therefore, she never opened the door.
She also took a photo of the man’s white sedan before he left the neighborhood.
“I set the alarm and called the constable,” said Horner.
Horner posted a warning on the NextDoor app under the heading “FEMA Inspector Impersonator.”
Her story mirrors a post from a homeowner on 24th Street titled “Beware of supposed FEMA inspector.” The man in that case bolted when confronted with a camera.
“These are real bottom feeders,” said neighbor Michael Silverman.
He hates to think people would fall for such a scam, especially in areas unaffected by the flood.
“So any FEMA workers that would come around here would be very suspicious,” said Silverman. “And I would think they would be looking to take advantage of some people.”
According to FEMA, you should always ask to see an inspector’s badge up close. A FEMA shirt or jacket does not make them legitimate.
Another very important reminder is that inspectors never show up unannounced. They have no reason to be at a home if the owner did not file a claim or register for disaster assistance.
“Just be careful about who you talk to,” said Horner. “Don’t let anybody in your home.”
And be watchful of warnings from people who’ve encountered potential imposters.
Here’s a template of a federal ID that official inspectors will have. They may also say “contractor” on the bottom.