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Kansas AG warns of new scam which targets survivors looking for FEMA help with funeral expenses

(Photo source: WLOX)
Published: May. 4, 2021 at 2:20 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is warning residents about a new scam that targets survivors of residents lost to the COVID-19 pandemic looking for help from FEMA with funeral expenses.

Earlier in April, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says the Federal Emergency Management Agency launched a new program, which provides up to $9,000 for funeral expenses to those that have had to pay to lay a loved one to rest due to COVID-19. He said the program covers deaths from the pandemic since January of 2020.

According to AG Schmidt, to apply for the program, survivors are required to show documentation, including receipts for expenses and a death certificate that says the death happened in the U.S. or its territories and was likely caused by COVID-19.

Schmidt said FEMA and the Federal Trade Commission have reported that scammers are contacting survivors, posing as government employees that offer to help with the registration process for federal assistance. Unfortunately, he said the imposters set themselves up to take more than just government assistance. He said with access to financial information, a loved one’s death certificate and the survivor’s personal information, the scammers are able to pocket up to $9,000 and cause hardship through identity theft.

According to Schmidt, Kansans should know the following to keep themselves safe:

  • The government won’t ask you to pay anything to get this financial help. Anyone who does is a scammer.
  • FEMA will not contact you until you have called FEMA or have applied for assistance. Anyone who contacts you out of the blue and claims to be a federal employee or from FEMA is a scammer.
  • 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. Anyone who does is a scammer.
  • Don’t give your own or your deceased loved one’s personal or financial information to anyone who contacts you out of the blue. Anyone who does that and asks for that information is a scammer.

For more information about the FEMA funeral assistance program, click HERE.

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