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Criminals trying to steal from families who lost a loved one to COVID-19

Families who’ve already lost a loved one to COVID-19 are being hit hard again. Now, crooks are trying to steal from those families.

This scam starts like most others do, with a call, an email or a text.

In this particular case, the scammer claims to be from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and they offer you financial help as part of the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program.

They tell you they just need to register you and then proceed to ask for the name, date of birth, and Social Security number of your deceased family member.

Bryan Oglesby with the Better Business Bureau says their goal in asking you for that information is to steal your identity.

“And their endgame is to collect personal information. Or in another version, they may ask to give up some kind of payment to receive those funds. So, this is the similar m.o. to many government imposter scams that we hear about,” Oglesby said. “And scammers are always looking for new angles to present their scam to consumers and pretend to be their local government agency to get them to give up that personal information.”

To help avoid these scammers you can:

  • Be wary of out-of-the-blue calls from people claiming to be government officials
  • If you receive any suspicious activity like this, report it directly to the agency claiming to contact you
  • Check for copycats – make sure the agency or organization contacting you actually exists

There is a real FEMA Funeral Assistance Program and if you need help applying for that or would like more information about it, follow this link.

Reporter:Rich Kolko
Writer:Drew Hill
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