SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — After a disaster, scam artists, identity thieves and other criminals may attempt to prey on those impacted. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says the most common post-disaster fraud practices include phony housing inspectors, fraudulent building contractors, bogus pleas for donations and fake offers of state or federal aid.

This week, Georgia’s Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner, John F. King sat down with WSAV for an interview and shared advice on insurance claims and how to avoid disaster response scams.

Concerning scams, King said the legislature recently gave them additional authority so they can now regulate companies of public adjusters.

“That is the purpose of why we go into communities that have been affected by storms, to stop these characters from committing the fraud,” said King.

He continued, “Our agents will go door to door sometimes and give people pamphlets. Do not sign a contract, call us, if you have any questions about it. We ask people to, when all possible, hire a local contractor, somebody that’s not going to disappear overnight. Somebody that has a track record in the community, and to make sure that we know who you’re dealing with.”

Commissioner King says that those with questions can visit their website at www.oci.ga.gov or give them a call at 1-800-656-2298.

You can also contact the FEMA Fraud Investigations and Inspections Division by sending an email to StopFEMAFraud@fema.dhs.gov. Or, report fraud to the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General by clicking here or calling the hotline at 1-866-720-5721.