Service Outages: What You Can Do

We encourage you to contact your provider to resolve any service-related issues resulting from weather-related outages. If you are unable to resolve this matter with your provider, you can file a complaint or share your story with the FCC through the Consumer Complaint Center. You'll find instructions there for filing a complaint, along with more information about what happens after a complaint is filed.

Scammers are always looking for new victims. Unfortunately, natural disasters and severe weather create opportunities for fraud in their wake, when people are at their most vulnerable.

Fake Flood Insurance Robocalls

Following hurricanes, fraudsters have used caller ID spoofing and robocall technology to target residents of areas hit by the storms with scam calls about flood insurance. If you receive this type of call, before giving out any personal information or agreeing to any payment, you should independently verify that the call is legitimate.  Contact your insurance agent or your insurance company directly. Policyholders with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP Direct) can call 1-800-638-6620.

To report suspected fraud, call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline toll free at 1-866-720-5721. If you need to report other fraudulent activities during or following a natural disaster, please notify FEMA at 1-866-720-5721 or You can also file a complaint with the FTC.

Tips in the FCC's consumer guides on Caller ID Spoofing and Robocalls may help you avoid being scammed. You can also file a complaint with the FCC.

Disaster Relief Charity Scams

In addition to the flood insurance scam, consumers everywhere should be aware of scammers posing as representatives of charities seeking donations for disaster relief. There are several steps you can take to protect yourself from this type of fraud:

  • Donate to trusted, well-known charities. Beware of scammers who create fake charities during natural disasters. Always verify a charity's legitimacy through its official website. If you have doubts, you can check with Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar. You can also check with the National Association of State Charity Officials whether charities must be registered in your state and if the charity contacting you is on file with your state.
  • Verify all phone numbers for charities. If you need to contact a charity by phone, verify through the charity's official website that the number you have is legitimate.
  • Do not open suspicious emails. If you receive a suspicious email requesting donations or other assistance, do not click on any links or open any attachments. Scammers regularly use email for phishing attacks and to spread malware.
  • Be skeptical of social media posts. Independently verify any solicitation for charitable donations before you give. If you're using text-to-donate, check the number with the charity first.

Finally, watch out for scammers impersonating federal, state, tribal and municipal authorities. If someone calls claiming to be a government official, hang up and call the number listed on that government agency's official website. Never reveal any personal information until you've confirmed you're dealing with a legitimate official. Also, all workers and agents who knock on doors of residences are required to carry official identification and to show it upon request. They also never ask for nor accept money.

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After Storms, Watch Out for Scams (pdf)


Date Last Updated/Reviewed: 
Tuesday, September 11, 2018