Scam Alert: AG Nessel says scammers are targeting families of COVID-19 victims
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - It’s bad enough that the pandemic has lasted over a year, and many have gotten sick or worse, died from COVID-19. Now, scammers are trying to target those who have lost a loved one when they are most vulnerable.
Currently, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is offering funds to help pay for funeral expenses for loved ones who died of COVID-19.
However, the scammers are trying to take advantage of their vulnerability, targeting potential applicants and offering to register them for the FEMA assistance program in an effort to steal personal data, according to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.
According to a fraud alert from FEMA, the agency does not contact people before they register for assistance.
As a result, the Attorney General’s office reissued a consumer alert on government imposter scams.
“I’ll say it again: bad actors will do whatever it takes to make a quick buck or steal your personal information and that includes taking advantage of your grief,” Nessel said. “FEMA will not contact you until you have called their agency or applied for assistance. Anyone who contacts you unsolicited and claims to be a government employee or from FEMA is a scammer.”
Nessel warns that anyone who receives a phone call they suspect to be a scam should avoid giving out personal information and hang up immediately.
To avoid being scammed:
- FEMA will not contact you until you have called FEMA or have applied for assistance.
- The government won’t ask you to pay anything to get this financial help.
- The government won’t call, text, email, or contact you on social media and ask for your social security, bank account, or credit card number.
- Don’t give your own or your deceased loved one’s personal or financial information to anyone who contacts you out of the blue.
If you receive a suspicious call from someone claiming to be from FEMA, hang up and report it to the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 or the National Center for Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721.
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