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Have property damage from the storms? Don't fall victim to fraud

Official disaster relief crews will have shirts identifying themselves. They will also have proper identification, and shouldn't ask for a lot of personal info.

ORANGEBURG COUNTY, S.C. — People throughout Orangeburg County and the state are facing storm-related damages to their home. Officials say there are steps they can take to get help starting with contacting the American Red Cross.

From there, emergency services will validate the damages and they will contact a local relief agency. However, officials say people should be mindful of who comes knocking at their door.

“If contractors show up to your house, we do not send contractors to houses. We don’t send contractors out, period," said Orangeburg County Emergency Services director Bill Staley.

Staley said representatives will have shirts that say United Methodist Relief. They will also have proper identification, and shouldn't ask for a lot of personal information.

RELATED: South Carolina agencies begin estimating damage totals after Tuesday tornadoes

“Name, address, phone number, and that’s usually about it. They should not be asking for any social security numbers. They should not be asking for any of that stuff," said Staley.

Staley says as of now, there have been no reports of anyone falsely claiming to be part of the county-issued damage assessment team. However, if anyone feels they could be a victim of fraud, they should call their local authorities.

Staley also advises people to be prepared for more potentially severe weather to come this season.

"It is spring so these type of weather events are not uncommon for us," Staley said. "Always stay abreast to the forecast. Always stay aware of your weather surroundings and make sure you always have a plan in case an emergency pops up for a weather event."

RELATED: Branchville residents recovering after severe storms

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