Criminals target Covid relief program paying $9,000 in funeral costs

Dana Neely | Stone | Getty Images

Criminals are targeting a new federal program that will pay up to $ 9,000 in funeral expenses for a loved one who died of Covid-19, the Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday.

The Covid-19 Funeral Assistance program overseen by the Federal Emergency Management Agency opened to applicants on Monday. According to official figures, individuals had difficulty getting through due to the high volume.

According to the FTC, scammers connect with people, impersonate government agents, and offer to register them for assistance.

“FEMA has not sent any such notifications and we do not contact people until they register for assistance,” read a fraud notice posted on FEMA’s website.

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About 563,000 people have died of Covid-19 in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University.

According to the FTC, criminals can request payment to access financial aid.

You can also request sensitive personal or financial information such as social security, bank account, or credit card numbers from potential victims or a deceased relative.

The government program is aimed at those who have incurred funeral expenses for a loved one who died of Covid-19 after January 20, 2020.

The program was funded by two previous rounds of federal aid to Covid, a $ 900 billion move in December and the US $ 1.9 trillion rescue plan last month.

Eligible expenses include: caskets or urns, gravesites, tombstones, official services and costs for cremation or internment. Individuals can receive up to $ 9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $ 35,500 per application per state.

There is no income limit for applying for funds. Documentation such as a death certificate and receipts are required.

According to FEMA, the program was plagued by technical problems due to the initially high volume of calls. Individuals must apply over the phone.

“The call center received thousands of calls this morning causing some technical problems,” the agency said on Monday.

“We ask applicants to be patient as we work to fix these issues and have all important documents ready when they call,” he added.

There is currently no application deadline.

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