Woman narrowly avoids FEMA scam, warns others
For many of those dealing with Harvey's aftermath, one phone call from FEMA is capable of answering questions, and calming fears.
Unfortunately, some scammers are trying to take advantage of storm victims.
Michelle Judson, of Vidor, nearly fell victim when she received a call from someone claiming to be a FEMA representative, after she lost her home in storm, and applied for help from FEMA weeks before.
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"He said his name was Ted Richards," says Judson. "He represented himself as a FEMA representative and said he had a $400 debit card."
The caller said he'd leave the debit card at a grocery store for Judson.
The woman went there with her family. When no one showed up, she called FEMA.
"She told me that was not a FEMA representative, she said it was potentially really bad situation and it's a very good thing that you never met with him face to face," says Judson. "She said it sounds like he was going to try to rob you, or worse."
That's the type of encounter the Better Business Bureau hopes to prevent.
"They should be giving you information," says Jay Sheppard of the BBB. "If they're asking you questions, that's a red flag."
Sheppard says before you provide personal information to anyone claiming to be a FEMA representative, ask for their ID number.
Also, FEMA representatives won't ask to meet you privately in random locations.
"You do not want to go somewhere to meet someone who is calling you on the phone like that," says Sheppard.
Now, Judson is waiting on a call from the real FEMA, and holding her loved ones a little tighter.
"It could definitely be much worse," she says. "But it's still an uneasy and uncertain feeling until everything gets back to any kind of normal."