With nearly 600,000 families grieving the loss of loved ones who lost their lives to the pandemic in the U.S. — and the federal government offering to help pay for funeral expenses — the Better Business Bureau says scammers are trying to take advantage.
What You Need To Know
- Better Business Bureau says scammers are targeting families of COVID victims
- They claim to offer funeral reimbursement from FEMA but ask for personal information to “register”
- That information can be used for identify theft, BBB says
- The BBB says if you believe you’ve been scammed, report it
According to the non-profit consumer organization, the scam is designed to trick people into giving up their personal information.
Here’s how it works:
- A potential fraud victim receives a call from someone who claims to work for the Federal Emergency Management Organization (FEMA).
- The caller claims you qualify for financial assistance under the COVID-19 Funeral Assitance Program, but you need to “register” for the program
- The information requested may include names, birth dates and social security numbers — all of which can be used for identity theft, according to BBB.
The Better Business Bureau also warns of another version of the scam that involves a fake FEMA representative claiming to follow up on COVID-19 vaccinations.
If you believe you’ve been scammed, report it to the Better Business Bureau.
The funeral assistance program began accepting applications on April 12. If you lost a family member to COVID-19, you can complete an application by aclling 844-684-6333. The line is open 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday to Friday.
Applications are not accepted online.