Scammers posing as government agents are stealing personal information and asking for fees to apply for funeral assistance programs meant for surviving family members of covid-19 victims.
A new breed of scam targets millions of families looking for financial help from government funeral assistance programs that help pay for burial costs.
In the United States, a particular program is being run by The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The program aims at covering costs up to $9,000 to help pay for burying covid-19 victims.
However, scammers are targeting potential applicants with intentions to steal personal data. Some demand banking information and personal information, including social security numbers, and some ask for upfront fees to process applications.
Cyber-Forensics.net, an industry leader in cyber forensic service for online scam victims, is issuing warnings and reaching out to funeral assistance program beneficiaries.
Timothy Benson, the chief analyst at the firm, investigated one of the millions of cases being reported.
Jacque Woodward lost her husband Gary to Covid-19 in November 2021. She received a call informing her that someone was trying to get a copy of her husband's death certificate to apply for the FEMA funds. Luckily, Woodward was able to stop the scam in time. But she remembers this incident as "appalling when anyone is trying to move forward after losing a family member.."
Cyber-Foresnics.net says, "There's no shortage of ways swindlers find their targets. The scam could start with a robocall asking for a loved one's details. Scammers also check death announcements, obituaries, and even social media to reach potential victims. Scammers keep a check on what's happening in someone's life, and they use the tools to present their scam."
How not to become victims of Funeral Assistance Program Scams
(A) Know about the program:
- Program eligibility- The funeral assistance programs are usually open to all Citizens, non-citizens legally admitted to a county, nationals of the country regardless of their income.
- Step 1- Visit the website or call registered numbers.
- Step 2- How to apply?- Survivors may apply for claiming the benefits by calling authorities at the provided toll-free numbers.
- Step 3- Present documents- The agency representatives will need to see a copy of the loved one's death certificate and social security number, along with a receipt from a funeral home.
- NO FEDERAL AGENT CONTACTS THE SURVIVORS OR ASKS FOR ANY PAYMENT
- The program never calls, sends texts, emails, or contacts individuals through social media and asks for social security, bank account, or credit card details.
- Costs Covered- The program covers costs for clergy service, caskets, use of funeral home, headstone, and burial plot.
(B) Never share details of deceased family members:
Any strange person requesting a loved one's financial or personal information is a scammer.
(C) Knowledge about prevalent scamming tricks:
By far, the most challenging thing cyber experts face is the lack of knowledge and mindset that online scam victims have about the prevalent scamming tactics. In most cases, potential targets are unaware of digital security steps, making them susceptible to financial losses. Thus, organizations and individuals must ensure having a security-focused mindset.
Not limited to sketchy links, downloading malicious files, detecting spoofed emails, or identifying scam calls/texts. Staying alert is what needs to be done.
What to do if scammed?
- Reporting the matter: First logical step is to report the incident to the agency's helpline number and police. Also, report the scam to concerning commissions. Cyber experts recommend following law enforcement agencies.
- File a complaint: Reporting the scam can help authorities track down the scammers so that they don't target other grieving families and eventually lead to prosecutions. Specialist agencies can help mitigate the fraudulent activities and suggest the best advice on how funeral assistance programs work.
- Find Professional Assistance: Scammers usually stay away from targeting huge organizations because they know the consequences may involve prosecution when caught. This is a crucial part of the equation that professional assistance brings when victims seek the return of funds.
How does fund recovery company help?
Organizations equipped with competent fund recovery company can help make important decisions about funding recovery lost in government imposter scams.
The best way they help online scam victims is by giving the victim a fair analysis of chances of fund recovery. Even when victims stand a 60% chance of fund recovery, it puts them in a better financial position.
Any professional fund recovery assistance organization has a moral obligation to guide the scam victims properly. A professional fund recovery assistance can intercept the transaction before sending it for liquidation. Thus, it is crucial to choose a credible fund recovery service.
Cyber-Forensics.net is committed to providing the most accurate tracing service for victims of online scams. Cyber-Forensics.net empowers and simplifies the process of tracking down the cyber-criminals and assists in recovering the funds and creating an atmosphere for a negotiated settlement. For more information, please visit https://cyber-forensics.net/.