U.S. Attorney urges public to be on high alert for fraud during - FOX Carolina 21

U.S. Attorney urges public to be on high alert for fraud during Irma relief efforts

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COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina) -

The U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina is urging both residents and businesses to be on high alert for fraud or abuse that occurs during Hurricane Irma relief efforts. 

In a press release, U.S. Attorney Beth Drake reminded members of the public to be cautious when sharing personal identifying information or account data. Drake urged the public to research and ask questions before giving contributions to someone soliciting contributions on behalf of Hurricane Irma victims.

"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. From the Haiti earthquake to the floods in Rhode Island to tornadoes in Kansas - the U. S. Department of Justice and our partners in federal, state and local enforcement have protected benefits destined for our citizens who have been victimized by these disasters."

If you suspect fraud, waste, abuse, or mismanagement in regards to Irma relief, contact the National Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721. Information can also be sent to disaster@leo.gov. 

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