AG Nessel reinstates consumer alert after scammers target families of COVID-19 victims

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Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel addresses the media during a news conference, Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/David Eggert)

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced on Monday that scammers are targeting loved ones of those who have died of COVID-19. The scammers are posing as Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials and offering to register victims in the FEMA funeral assistance program.

FEMA has offered funds to pay for the funeral expenses of people who have died of COVID-19 since Jan. 20, 2020.

However, FEMA does not contact people before they register.

In response to the scam, Nessel’s office has issued a consumer alert on government imposter scams and FEMA released a fraud alert.

“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.” 

Nessel’s office advises anyone who receives a potential scam call to avoid giving out any personal information and to hang up immediately.

According to Nessel’s office:

  • “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 who claims to be from FEMA, immediately hang up and report the call to the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 or the National Center for Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721. 

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