In addition to unlicensed contractors touting repair services in wildfire areas, local prosecutors are alerting property owners to bogus applications for Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster help.
The Napa County District Attorney’s Office said it received several reports from residents whose personal identifying information, including Social Security numbers, was used to file a fraudulent application. Some reported finding that someone had already applied under their name. Others reported that inspectors came to their homes to ask about their applications, though none had been filed.
FEMA will not send inspectors to a property unless an application is filed and won’t collect personal or bank-account information there, the prosecutors said. That will only be requested during the application online or at a local assistance center. All FEMA employees will have photo IDs.
Suspect fraud? Contact 800-323-8603 (disaster fraud line 866-720-5721) or oig.dhs.gov.
For the next two and a half weeks, hot foods and dine-in dishes can be purchased with SNAP (CalFresh) benefits at approved retailers in Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Solano, Sonoma, Butte, Contra Costa, Nevada, Orange, Sacramento, Sutter and Yuba counties.
These special rules, due to severe damage and evacuations caused by the Northern California wildfires, run through Nov. 15. Hot foods purchased with SNAP EBT benefits through Nov. 15 are not subject to sales tax.
SNAP-authorized retail food stores in those counties are encouraged to post a special notice.