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Nessel warns Michiganders as scammers target grieving COVID survivors

The scammers are targeting potential applicants and offering to register them for the FEMA funeral assistance program in an effort to steal personal data.

Michigan Attorney General Nessel is warning Michiganders to beware of scammers reaching out to loved ones of COVID-19 victims, offering to register them for funeral assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

According to a fraud alert from FEMA, the agency does not contact people before they register for assistance. FEMA is offering funds to help pay for funeral expenses that people have paid since January 20, 2020 for loved ones who died of COVID-19. 

The scammers are targeting potential applicants and offering to register them for the FEMA funeral assistance program in an effort to steal personal data.

As a result, the AG’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 in a press release. “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.”

Anyone who receives a phone call they suspect to be a scam should avoid giving out personal information and hang up immediately.

How 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.

For questions about FEMA’s funeral assistance program or to apply, call 844-684-6333 or visit their Frequently Asked Questions page online.

Consumer complaints can be filed online at the Attorney General’s website, or by calling 877-765-8388. 

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