FEMA Workshop Tonight At 7pm, A Reminder To Watch Out For Scams

Are you interested in learning how to apply for federal assistance to help cover financial losses from Hurricane Sandy?

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) employees will teach Essex County residents how to apply for disaster assistance at a workshop tonight at 7pm, in the Council Chambers of the municipal building, 205 Claremont Avenue, Montclair.

Can’t make it to the meeting? You can register online, or by calling 1 (800) 621-FEMA (3362). Or head to the Essex County Disaster Recovery Center in Newark to file for assistance and ask questions about your case: Willing Heart Community Center, 555 Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd. It’s open 8am-8pm, seven days a week.

Services may include:

  • Guidance regarding disaster recovery
  • Clarification of any written correspondence received
  • Housing Assistance and Rental Resource information
  • Answers to questions, resolution to problems and referrals to agencies that may provide further assistance
  • Status of applications being processed by FEMA
  • SBA program information if there is a SBA Representative at the Disaster Recovery Center site

FEMA is also trying to get the word out that the widespread rumor that FEMA is handing out $300 food vouchers is incorrect. And the agency is reminding residents there’s never a fee to apply for FEMA disaster relief, receive assistance, or for property damage inspections. Watch out for fraudsters who promise you money, especially if they ask for an up-front payment.

The IRS is also warning consumers of possible scams:

Scam artists can use a variety of tactics. Some scammers operating bogus charities may contact people by telephone to solicit money or financial information. They may even directly contact disaster victims and claim to be working for or on behalf of the IRS to help the victims file casualty loss claims and get tax refunds. They may attempt to get personal financial information or Social Security numbers that can be used to steal the victims’ identities or financial resources.

Bogus websites may solicit funds for disaster victims. Such fraudulent sites frequently mimic the sites of, or use names similar to, legitimate charities, or claim to be affiliated with legitimate charities, in order to persuade members of the public to send money or provide personal financial information that can be used to steal identities or financial resources.   Additionally, scammers often send e-mail that steers the recipient to bogus websites that sound as though they are affiliated with legitimate charitable causes.

Taxpayers suspecting disaster-related frauds should visit IRS.gov and search for the keywords “Report Phishing.”

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  1. From the FEMA website:

    “At the direction of President Barack Obama, FEMA continues to lead the federal government’s effort to provide assistance and support to states affected by Hurricane Sandy, ensuring the federal family and its public and private partners continue to provide all available resources to support state, local, and tribal communities in affected areas.

    FEMA personnel have been deployed to support response operations, including search and rescue, situational awareness, communications and logistical support in states affected by the storm. Community relations teams are on the ground in the hardest hit areas going door-to-door to inform disaster survivors about available services and resources and to gather situational awareness. FEMA continues to coordinate with the federal family to deploy and mobilize hundreds of staff from various federal agencies to support community relations and operational activities. Housing inspectors are on the ground, meeting with disaster survivors to identify damages to homes, to further expedite assistance to individuals.”

    The “Federal Family”, good God how creepy. It’s the next chapter in the personality cult? Should we start calling him “Uncle Barry” ? Or perhaps our “Federal Family Father” ?

  2. ROC, have no fear, Uncle B Hussein O is here! And, Aunt Michelle, and their 2 beautiful daughters…..BTW….. It’s a New America, ROC! One where, as Paul Ryan has lamented, the vote is more “urban”! (dang, if only those “urban” folks stayed home….)

  3. What’s “creepy” is finding yet another reason to disparage a president who makes a statement of support for fellow citizens in distress. How pathetic.

    By the way, have you been in touch with the Gallup folks to see what went wrong?

  4. ROC, the ludicrous suggestion that FEMA be turned over to the states, or even better, privatized, is one of many good reasons why your candidate lost.

    If you don’t like the concept of “Federal Family”, then move to Somalia. Just don’t ask the rest of us to pay for your Social Security or Medicare.

  5. ROC, take a day trip to the Rockaways. The devastation is surreal. Helping our neighbors isn’t creepy, it’s the right thing to do.

  6. I’m not sure how having an issue with the (yes) creepy, Orwellian administration terminology means I’m making a suggestion FEMA should be “turned over to the states” or that I’m against helping out neighbors. But whatever.

    The attention of our “Federal Family” is every bit as creepy as our loyal “Big Brother” watching out for us.

  7. The “Federal Family”, good God how creepy. It’s the next chapter in the personality cult? Should we start calling him “Uncle Barry” ? Or perhaps our “Federal Family Father” ?

    How about Uncle George, since it started with the Bush admin?


    It’s meant to address the fact that “government” is a dirty word these days. But I agree with you, absolutely terrible word choices.

    Still, I’d rather FEMA be good at disaster recovery rather than good at talking about it.

  8. I hope that one of the first things the president does in his second term is remove all of that “creepy” Uncle Sam stuff. Its far too suggestive of some sort of federal family. Positively Orwellian, in fact.

    Perhaps “CEO Sam Wants You”?

  9. I don’t care if George Washington said it first. In the modern context it’s creepy and Orwellian.

    I’m reminded of Communists telling the young pioneers that “The Party is your family”.

  10. And the real proof that the federal government is a family lies in the fact that, like all families, it is dysfunctional.

  11. I’m reminded of my time back in 1964, sitting around the campfire with some corpulent Italian Red named “Comrade Paul” as he read his Communist pamphlet entitled “Lumen Gentium”. It was full of the usual Bolshevik claptrap and collectivist cant — “We’re all one family”, “We must see our brethren in the light of family”,etc.

    Luckily, I wised up and rejected this stuff.

  12. Yes let us focus on two words in a paragraph about helping people. That is the way to see the big picture. I don’t think the nurses at the old age home can be counted as big brother is watching you so don’t go swinging your cane at them.

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