(WFRV) – As the United States nears a total of 600,000 COVID-19 deaths nationwide, many families are now facing the devastating burden of organizing funeral services for their lost loved ones. To make matters worse, scammers have no remorse and are using these difficult times to take advantage of these families.
While the new COVID-19 Funeral Assistance program was launched to help pay for the funeral expenses of people who died from COVID-19, scammers are now using this program as another chance to steal personal information from bereaved families.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) notes that the scam starts by receiving a call, email, or text message from someone who claims to be from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or another government agency. The scammer then states they are allegedly reaching out as part of the official COVID-19 Funeral Assistance program.
This “government official” will claim that the resident qualifies for financial assistance. But first, need information to “register” them for the program. BBB cautions residents that scammers may ask for the name, birth date, and social security number of a deceased family member and that sharing this information can lead to identity theft.
Officials remind residents to always double-check and verify the person or company they are speaking with before releasing any personal information. To learn more about FEMA’s COVID-19 funeral assistance program and for more information about scams related to the coronavirus, see BBB.org/coronavirus.