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.

For more official information about the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program, click here or visit FEMA's Funeral Assistance FAQ website.


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