Lambertville, NJ

Support for people in and around Lambertville, NJ who have been affected by Hurricane Irene

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Beware of Scammers

 The following is an email from representative Rush Holt:

Beware of Disaster Relief Scams
FEMA is already at work responding to recent disasters.  A resident of Lambertville wrote recently to say, “We live in an area that never is affected by water from the common flooding of the Delaware River...  Following your direction I applied to FEMA.  Their response was immediate, but I had no reason to believe that the application might be other than an exercise...  Much to my surprise, the application was approved and I received a substantial grant that I expect to cover most of my expenses in restoring our home for us.”
I encourage you, too, to apply as quickly as possible to begin the disaster relief process.  Further information is available on my website. 
As you seek disaster assistance, please be wary of potential scammers.  The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has reported that homeowners in Little Falls received a scam letter that began, "STATEMENT OF YOUR BENEFITS," and stated, "The Payment Security Administration (PSA) has determined that you shall receive entitlements and a Financial Recovery Award of up to $27,500.00."  The letter asks recipients to mail a "Benefit Consent Form" to a post office box in Canada, along with a "Processing Fee" of $29.97 paid by check, money order, or credit card authorization.
Please be wary of any mailer or advertisement that, like the "Payment Security Administration" mailer, has any of these signs of a possible scam:
  • Offering huge prizes in exchange for small, up-front payments;
  • The use of an official-sounding but unverifiable name; for example, if an Internet search reveals that an agency by that name may not actually exist;
  • Fine print that includes unclear or confusing language; or
  • The request that payments be sent outside the United States.
Flood Clean-Up Assistance
Do you need help with cleaning up flood damage in your home, basement, or small business?  Volunteers may be available to assist the elderly, disabled, and those needing extra assistance to clean up water and mud damage.  To request assistance, please dial 2-1-1.  Further information is available on the NJ 2-1-1 Hurricane Response and Recovery website.
Rush Holt
Member of Congress

It is unfortunate that disasters bring out scammers looking to profit from other people's misfortune. Please be careful who you give any financial information to, and, if you are unsure about the legitimacy of any agency who contacts you, check them out before you agree to anything.

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