Mike Jones 281-330-8004 number used in Hurricane Ian cleanup scam

Viral Facebook posts claiming people can be paid to help with Hurricane Ian cleanup efforts are a hoax. The phone number associated with the post is from a song.

Hurricane Ian was one of the strongest storms in US history to hit the Florida coast. In the Fort Myers area alone, houses were ripped from their panels and shredded debris was strewn through the city streets.

Shops near the beach were completely destroyed, leaving twisted debris. Broken docks floated alongside damaged boats and fires smoldered on lots where homes once stood.

Federal Responsoren with the Federal Agency for Emergency Management (FEMA) work with the National Guard and others deployed to assist with cleanup efforts and rescue missions.

After Hurricane Ian, viral Facebook posts said anyone could receive up to $3,000 and have all expenses paid if they came to Florida to help with the cleanup.

“Storm clean-ups in Tampa for $3,000 a week, they pay for room and food. Thanks later 281-330-8004 ask for Mike.” a Facebook post with 59,000 shares said.

Storm cleaning jobs in Tampa for $3,000 a week, they pay for room and food. Thank you later 281-330-8004 ask for Mike

Written by Jeremy Davis on Tuesday 27 September 2022

More from VERIFY: No, homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies typically do not cover flood damage caused by hurricanes

THE QUESTION

Are the viral Facebook posts claiming someone can be paid to help clean up Hurricane Ian legitimate?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

That's wrong.

No, the Facebook posts claiming someone can be paid to help with Hurricane Ian are not legitimate.

WHAT WE FOUND

The viral posts circulating on Facebook are called copypasta memes. Copypasta is internet slang for a block of text that is repeatedly copied and pasted.

The phone number listed with the memes is not at all related to the Hurricane Ian cleanup; It’s a phone number made famous by rapper Mike Jones.

Jones used the number, which was his real number, in many of his song lyrics; most notably his 2005 song “Back Then”. In 2020 he posted on Instagram that it was his phone number again.

Here are some Miscellaneous examples from when the phone number was used in memes.

When VERIFY tried to call and text the number, the phone number was not working.

While these posts are not legitimate, there are still ways to help victims of Hurricane Ian. Here are some resources:

  • The Florida Disaster Fund is the State of Florida’s official private fund established to provide assistance to Florida communities in the aftermath of a disaster. Visit the website for volunteer and donation opportunities.
  • The Red Cross has information about how to help.
  • Disaster Relief at Work (DRAW) has local people and is accepting donations deliveries.
  • project hopeanother humanitarian organization, is also accepting donations and has called on volunteers, particularly medical professionals, to help.

In an email to VERIFY, Project Hope said memes like this circulate around almost every disaster, and they’re not aware of any organization offering compensation for helping with the cleanup.

That work department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued notices warning people to be careful and safe when helping with rescue or clean-up operations.

To report suspected fraud related to Hurricane Ian, call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline toll-free at 1-866-720-5721. If you need to report other fraudulent activity during or after a natural disaster, please notify FEMA at 1-866-720-5721 or email:aster@leo.gov.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Laura Coffey

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