Scammers Target FEMA Funeral Money, What Do You Need To Know?
ROBERTSON COUNTY TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – At Smokey Barn News we were tracking unusual traffic in our obituary area. Traffic comes from all parts of the US and abroad and at any time. We weren’t sure what to do with it until we learned of a FEMA scam that was robbing families of FEMA COVID money to help survivors with funeral expenses. A by-product of the fraud would of course be identity theft.
Let’s face it, if we lose someone close to us, we may be more prone to just the right scam.
What is FEMA doing? FEMA offers financial assistance to families who have lost a loved one to COVID-19 to cover funeral expenses. Here’s why it’s so attractive to scammers. Assistance can be up to $ 9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $ 35,500 per request. Click here to login.
FEMA believes scammers are browsing obituary sections looking for COVID-19 victims. Once they have a destination, they call and pretend to be FEMA representatives. “We hear that you lost a loved one to COVID-19, we can help.” The scammer then collects social security and other personal information. After that, the scammer can apply for the FEMA money himself or simply sell the information on the internet.
To begin with, FEMA will NEVER call you unless you have made contact. So if you get a call it is fake.
Here’s what FEMA says: “FEMA’s Funeral Assistance Program has controls in place to mitigate fraudulent activity. FEMA will not contact anyone until they call FEMA or ask for assistance. Do not give out information such as the name, date of birth, or social security number of a deceased family member on unsolicited phone calls or emails from anyone claiming to be a federal employee or from FEMA. “
FEMA added; “If you have any doubts as to whether a FEMA representative is legitimate, hang up and report them to the FEMA hotline at 800-621-3362 or the National Anti-Fraud Center hotline at 866-720-5721. Complaints can also be filed by contacting local law enforcement agencies. “
If you’re having problems with forms or the registration process, the company handling your funeral arrangements may be able to help.
Remember, the scammers can vote for dollars and call any member of your family who may or may not know about the scam.
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