Family says someone stole identity and made false claim to FEMA

SEBASTIAN, Fla. - A Sebastian woman fears she and her husband might be victims of fraud related to FEMA disaster relief following Hurricane Irma.

Becky Crippen says a FEMA inspector showed up at her door, unexpectedly, and without the Crippen’s making any claim for disaster assistance.

The inspector, Crippen said, took pictures of their home and of Crippen’s husband’s ID.

“I said we didn’t file a claim, we didn’t have any damage, why would we file a claim?” Crippen said. Crippen says the inspector responded, ”Well, someone did.”

It was so strange, Crippen said, that she called police.

Crippen learned from law enforcement that the inspector was legitimate. Now, she worries the inspector may have been given their address by someone trying to scam FEMA for money.

“Why did she come to my house to begin with?”

Crippen says she made calls to FEMA, and eventually got someone on the line to give her information.

“I kept calling around and stuff and found out that there had been a claim put in against my husband’s name,” Crippen said.

“They had my husbands name, they had his date of birth, they had his social security number, they had our address and a phone number that wasn’t current,” Crippen said.

Now, she wants to know who got their information and gave it to FEMA.

Crippen says the person who made the claim under her husband’s name also created an email address with his name, and said they were living in a hotel.

They’ve never left their home, Crippen said.

“I just, I feel violated.”

Crippen says the FEMA representative she spoke to told her that money had been sent to the person who filed the claim.

“They had sent critical assistance money to a green dot banking account….They don’t deserve it. And people who do deserve it are having all kinds of trouble trying to get it.”

A Spokeswoman for FEMA says the agency has received complaints of fraudulent activity following Hurricane Irma, but they cannot speak specifically to the Crippen’s case.

The Crippen’s have notified their credit companies and bank.

FEMA urges anyone who suspects they are victims of fraud related to disaster relief to call the FEMA fraud hotline at 1-800-323-8603

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