Houston Authorities Announce Working Group to Fight Hurricane Harvey Related Fraud


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9-1-17 (2000Z)

Natural disasters often bring out the best in human compassion and spirit, they can also lead to unscrupulous individuals and organizations taking advantage of those in need of and/or providing government services.

The working group will involve all levels of law enforcement and includes representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas, NCDF, Harris County DA’s Office, Texas Attorney General’s Office, SEC, FBI, DHS-OIG, HSI, IRS-CI, USSS, FTC and ATF.

Authorities are already receiving calls about scams in our area and have forwarded complaints to the relevant agencies.

Examples of typical illegal activity under the jurisdiction of each of the agencies in the working group include the following:

· Impersonating federal law enforcement officials,

· Identity theft,

· Fraudulent submission of claims to insurance companies and the federal government,

· Fraudulent activity related to solicitations for donations and charitable giving,

· Fraudulent activity related to individuals and organizations promising high investment returns from profits from recovery and cleanup efforts,

· Price gouging,

· Theft, looting and other violent crime, and

· Consumers also can report scams and other consumer issues to the FTC, and get help if they think they may be a victim of identity theft.