Members of the public can report fraud, waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations through the National Disaster Fraud Hotline toll free at (866) 720-5721 or the Disaster Fraud e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The telephone line is staffed by a live operator 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
There are a number of federal statutes that could be implicated by disaster relief fraud including false claims against the government; theft of government property; credit card, bank, mail, and wire fraud; false statements, social security fraud, identity theft, and fraud against the American Red Cross.
Members of the public are reminded to apply a critical eye and do their due diligence before giving contributions to anyone soliciting donations on behalf of disaster victims. Solicitations can originate from e-mails, websites, door-to-door collections, mailings and telephone calls, and similar methods. In anticipation of unprecedented fraud in connection with federal disaster relief following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, a Joint Command Center was established in Baton Rouge, La., to coordinate reports of fraud. The Command Center, now known as the National Center for Disaster Fraud, has since expanded its mission to include suspected fraud from any natural or manmade disaster. More than 20 federal agencies participate in the center, allowing it to act as a centralized clearinghouse of information. To date, the National Center for Disaster Fraud has received and screened more than 38,000 complaints and has referred more than 24,000 complaints of disaster fraud to law enforcement for investigation. If you believe you have been a victim of fraud from a person or an organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of tornado or storm victims, or if you know of others who are committing theft or fraud of federal taxpayer’s money, contact the
National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at (866) 720-5721. You can also fax information to (225) 334-4707 or e-mail it to email@example.com.