Victim: Scammer tries to request Franklin man’s death certificate for FEMA money

Published: Apr. 20, 2021 at 6:53 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 21, 2021 at 11:50 AM EDT
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FRANKLIN, Ky. (WBKO) - As a part of the recent COVID relief package, FEMA is offering families up to $9,000 in funeral assistance funds if their loved one died of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, some scammers are trying to apply for those funds in a number of ways, and one Franklin family almost fell victim.

“It’s just sad that the world has people that would try to prey upon people that are already going through a traumatic episode in their life, just to gain money,” said Jacque Woodward of Franklin who lost her husband to COVID-19 in November 2020.

Although ICU nurse Gary Woodward of Franklin never made it to 65, his now widow has ensured that when he lost his young life to COVID, his legacy would thrive.

“I’m trying to promote his ascension St. Thomas nursing scholarship. And that’s going to pave the way for so many others to move forward with a nursing career,” said Jacque about the nursing scholarship she created in his honor.

While a widow and family aim to find light among the grief, there appears to be someone lurking in the shadows, preying on their darkness.

“I had received a call at work, and it was from the Kentucky Office of vital statistics,” explained Jacque.

That call was meant to clarify a discrepancy in a request for Gary Woodward’s death certificate.

“I immediately told her-- this is a scam, someone is trying to secure his death certificate to apply for the FEMA funeral relief fund, and I said, ‘do not send it. This is not me,’” said Jacque.

Luckily for Jacque, someone with the state caught a red flag and then she verified it was in fact a discrepancy.

“For somebody to try to do something like this for such a horrible reason... It just needs to be stopped, and the community needs to be aware of it,” said Jacque.

However others, might not be as lucky, and so that’s why, once again, Jacque doing her part and speaking out.

“People are hurting, they don’t need this on top of that. We try to move forward and go on with our life in a different realm without our loved one. So hopefully this will halt some of that.

FEMA says there’s another scam going on where scammers are offering to register them for funeral assistance. Officials add they have not sent any such notifications and will not contact people before they register for assistance.

MORE: Family remembers nurse who died of COVID, his legacy lives on through daughters, wife in health care

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