A warning from across the pond!

One thing that this pandemic has emphasized is just how small the world is and what happens in one place can soon happen in another. Each country has taken different approaches in how they support and financially aid their population: be it grants, furlough schemes or just handouts. And the sad fact of the matter is, is that where there is money there is fraud, and if that money involves the deceased that’s like chum in the water for would-be fraudsters.  

A federal scheme set up in the United States is helping to pay for funeral expenses of people who have died due to COVID-19. However, fraudsters are using this as an opportunity to steal personal information from bereaved family members. The program set up by FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to aid costs associated with COVID-19 is an opt in scheme with no deadlines and no cap on funding which is great news for all Americans worried and burdened by a loss at this time but it does mean that you have to call them or at least give FEMA permission to contact you.  

Fraudsters are seizing this opportunity to contact people directly who have lost a loved one and then mine them for information such as full names, dates of birth and that all important social security number. Some scammers are even being brazen enough to charge the bereaved family member “a small fee” to use the free service! And that is not all. There is a variation of the scam where by the fraudsters call up individuals claiming to be following up on their vaccination jabs and stating that they have not filled out all the relevant paperwork. 

It will not be long until some version of this scam will be implemented in the UK if it hasn’t been already! Anyone in Britain who has been contacted by the Track and Trace scheme will know that they call regularly, partly to make sure that individuals adhere to the rules, but also to make sure that the individuals are doing okay. What they might not know is that Track and Trace doesn’t keep any personal information and only works off the first four letters of your post code. However, when dealing with a loss even the canniest of individuals are not in their right mind and this is what the fraudsters will be targeting.  

The scam will focus first on individuals and the information gained will be used to then target companies. This just makes fraud prevention solutions, such as Halo, all the more important. For further information about deceased identity fraud and how to protect against it please don’t hesitate to contact us.