Federal leaders have released a new scam warning to Hurricane Harvey victims.
More than five months after the storm came through, thousands still need help.
Knowing this, the Federal Trade Commission said people are preying on that vulnerability.
One of those still needing assistance is Elizabeth Faulk.
“We need new fencing,” Faulk said. “We need new siding, new walls. Everything.”
She’s still holding out hope someone from FEMA will call and ask her to apply for assistance.
“In a heartbeat,” Faulk said. “No doubt. I would apply as soon as I possibly could just because we need the help.”
Thing is, FEMA stopped taking applications two months ago.
Faulk isn’t the only Harvey victim unaware of this.
“Definitely,” Erick Murillo said. “I would. “I would take that chance. See if I can get that kind of support.”
Knowing this, the Federal Trade Commission released a new warning.
Its received multiple complaints from people in the Houston area that have fallen victims.
Officials say people are pretending to be FEMA, stealing identities, and filed for aid in their name.
“How someone could do that to someone in need. It’s hard enough to throw away all your belongings and have someone take your money and leave,” Murillo said.
The problem for some victims, it’s hard to tell what is a scam.
“Some people say why don’t you do this or that, Faulk said. “Well, that sounds great in theory but it’s kind of hard sometimes when you don’t have the funds, or you don’t have the information that you need to get the help.”
To protect yourself, never give someone claiming to be a FEMA agent your personal information over the phone.
Instead, take their information, hang up, and call FEMA.
If someone stole your identity, visit identitytheft.gov to learn what to do next.
Officials also say to make sure you report if someone has tried to scam you.
You can either call, 866-720-5721, or email, email@example.com, to report the situation.
It angers Faulk too, but she says when you desperately need help, it’s easy to become a victim.