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Scammers using COVID-19 pandemic to make money

Just when one thinks they’ve seen it all, scammers have contrived a way to use the COVID-19 pandemic to make money — your money, as it turns out.

Here’s the story. According to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, scammers are contacting survivors of people who have died of the coronavirus, seeking to “help” them register for death benefits paid by the federal agency FEMA.

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, according to an AG press release.

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

“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 the 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.”

Put another way, the government isn’t going to 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 — period.

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.

(THE MARQUETTE MINING JOURNAL)

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