Wilton police are warning residents to be aware of scam artists posing as utility employees and emergency services workers.

People impersonating utility workers have been cutting and stealing downed power lines in other towns, and later selling them as scrap for profit, Chief Michael Lombardo said Friday.

"Additionally, a group from Georgia is known to have traveled to the Northeast and may be representing themselves as a search-and-rescue team associated with FEMA, of which they are not."

Anyone contacted by someone attempting to make storm-related repairs should ask for identification if none is offered, police said. Because so many utility and tree crews are from out of state, homeowners should verify who they are working for if they are on private property.

"If there is any doubt the person is conducting legitimate work, please notify the police department and further investigation will be conducted," police said.

Residents are also asked to keep an eye on neighbors' homes and businesses that may be vacant due to damage or power outage. They are asked to call police at 203-834-6260 or call 911 if they see suspicious activity.

The governor's office offers the following general tip to prevent fraud:

"When contracting for home repairs, homeowners should always use licensed local contractors, and ask for and investigate their references. Furthermore, be sure to ask for a written estimate from at least three contractors that includes labor and materials, read the fine print before signing a contract, and do not pay a contractor in-full in advance."

To avoid fraud related to FEMA:

• FEMA-contracted inspectors always call to schedule an appointment before visiting a home, always wear a photo ID and always know the applicant's name and registration number. Inspectors never charge a fee for help.

• Residents and businesses in Fairfield, New Haven, Middlesex and New London Counties who suffered damage as a result of Storm Sandy must register with FEMA by phone or online to access possible federal assistance.

To register by phone, residents can call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). The TTY line for people with speech or hearing disabilities is 1-800-462-7585. The line is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days per week.

To register online, applications may be completed at disasterassistance.gov. If residents have disaster assistance questions, they may call the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-3362.