LANSING - According to a press release on Feb. 17, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel brings attention to the various COVID-19 relief programs for Michigan residents facing financial hardship, and also warns of the possible scams that are looking to steal personal information and money.
The Federal Trade Commission recently provided information on the three relief programs provided to residents. These programs are for renters, homeowners and student loan borrowers.
The renters relief program temporarily stops evictions for certain renters, from now until March 31, 2021. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides information on eligibility and steps renters should take.
According to the CDC order, the temporary relief period only protects renters who meet certain requirements and who sign a form and give it to their landlord. Landlords can still charge late fees during this time, if you break certain terms of your lease, you can still be evicted, the order does not apply to homeowners facing foreclosure, and lastly the protections do not apply if you live in an area that already has the same or better eviction protections.
The homeowner relief program helps residents if they are struggling to make federally backed mortgage payments because of the pandemic. Payment forbearance may still be available and the pause on foreclosures runs through at least March 31, 2021.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency helps residents find out if their mortgage is federally backed.
The relief program for students borrowing loans says that for the federal student loans that are covered, the U.S. Department of Education has automatically paused payments through Sept. 30, 2021.
“As this nation continues to grapple with the impact of COVID-19 on just about every facet of life, it’s important that Michiganders are aware of federal programs available to them,” said Nessel.
Nessel warns residents of possible relief program scams that try to steal personal information and money from residents in need.
“With temporary halts on evictions for those eligible, mortgage payment forbearance and a continued pause on federal student loan payments, it’s important to remain on alert for scammers seeking to capitalize off of these opportunities,” Nessel said.
To avoid becoming a victim of such scams, Nessel offers a few helpful tips. Nessel said to be cautious of anyone who contacts you to offer financial services or rental assistance for a fee – she says you do not have to pay to get these benefits.
Another tip is to not give out your personal or financial information to anyone who contacts you, even if they claim to be a government official, and lastly Nessel says, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
“That is why my office wants to ensure that people remember they do not have to pay for these benefits,” Nessel said. “If you receive a call, email or text demanding that you provide personal information like your Social Security, bank account or credit card number, do not fall for it.”
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