If you ever needed further proof of the total lack of empathy of scammers, this scam provides it. Earlier this week the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced a program by which it will pay up to $9,000 for funeral expenses of people who died from the Coronarvirus since January 20, 2020. The program is available to all American citizens and non-citizens who are legally in the United States and there are no income or asset qualifications. Unfortunately, scammers have seized on this program as a new way to scam people by calling them, texting them or emailing them posing as FEMA officials offering to help people apply for the funeral payments. In some of these scams, they ask for a fee as a part of the application process and in other versions of this scam they ask for your Social Security number, bank account number or credit card number in order to process the application and pay the funds. Any money you pay them is lost forever and any information you provide will be used to make you a victim of identity theft.
It is important to know that FEMA is not contacting anyone by email, text message or phone call to inform them about the program or offer to assist in the application. In addition, there are no fees required to apply for these benefits. Finally, you are not required to provide your Social Security number, bank account number or credit card number to apply for these benefits.
Even if your Caller ID indicates that the call is from FEMA, it is a simple matter for scammers to “spoof” the telephone number of FEMA and manipulate your Caller ID so it appears that the call is coming from FEMA when, in truth, it is coming from the phone or computer of the scammer so you can’t trust your Caller ID.
People interested in the real FEMA funeral benefits program can apply by phone at 844-684-6333.
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