Hurricane Fraud

Hurricane Fraud
By: CJ Cassidy

Red Cross workers deal with more than just evacuees, they face would-be scam artists as well. It would seem relatively easy to walk into the Red Cross building and claim you've lost everything you own, including your identification.

Surely you wouldn't expect anyone to be able to check it out, and there's money to be made, but the director of Cape's Red Cross says, not so fast.

Hurricane victim, Casey Enderle's glad to pick up a check from the Red Cross; she's already figured out a shopping list. "It's for my baby mostly food and diapers stuff like that," she says.Enderle gave birth to a baby girl the day before the storm struck. "I'm displaced from my home no power or utilities there," she tells Heartland News.

Enderle's account like many others before her, is heart breaking. But, Mary Burton with the Red Cross says she has to be tough, if she wants to spot victims whose stories don't ring true."We had a gentleman staying in a shelter that perpetrated an act of fraud we investigated it took measures to stop it right then." she says.

So how do aid workers figure out what's true and what's not?"When a client comes in we've already assessed that damage and we can verify that this client at this address has indeed suffered a loss," Burton explains.

She adds that volunteers also take down victim information and enter it into a database for other relief agencies to access, here in the heartland and across the country."We can track them that way make sure there's no double dipping," Burton says.

Casey Enderle doesn't mind the wait; she's just glad scam artists won't get away."It's wrong people would even think to do that you know, take away from people who need so much and have so little," she says.

Mary Burton turned that fraud investigation over to the police.She says there've been very few people who've come in without any ID, but she's prepared to handle any other scam artists who think they can pull a fast one.