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Coronavirus Rumor Control

FEMA helps the public distinguish between rumors and facts regarding the response to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
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Do your part to the stop the spread of rumors by doing three easy things:

  1. Find trusted sources of information.
  2. Share information from trusted sources.
  3. Discourage others from sharing information from unverified sources.

To find trusted sources, look for information from official public health and safety authorities. You can find many official sources at coronavirus.gov. Check your state and local government or emergency management websites and social media accounts for trusted information specific to your area.

On social media, be sure to check for a blue verified badge next to the account name. This tells you it's an official account.

Stay Informed

Get the latest public health information on coronavirus at www.coronavirus.gov.

Contact the Federal Trade Commission to file a consumer complaint about scams.

Rumor: FEMA is providing assistance funding through money exchange apps.

Fact: FEMA does not use money exchange apps. If your home or property was damaged by a declared disaster, you may eligible for FEMA assistance. You can apply for assistance at DisasterAssistance.gov. If you are eligible, FEMA will deposit funds into your account or mail a check.

Last updated October 30, 2020 | Source: FEMA

Rumor: FEMA is paying hazard pay to anyone who worked during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Fact: CARES Act funding provided unemployment benefits for citizens during the pandemic. Additionally, since FEMA enacted the Lost Wages program in August, billions have been provided to states to assist with their unemployment claims. FEMA funding allows states to provide at least  an additional $300 per week to people who lost work due to COVID 19 through their unemployment insurance programs. However no federal assistance was given in the form of hazard pay, nor has FEMA directly paid individuals.

Last updated August 25, 2020 | Source: FEMA

Rumor: I got a call, text, or email saying I could get financial help. Is it legitimate?

Fact: There have been reports that scammers are pretending to be the government, contacting people by robocall, text message, email and other outreach. These scammers say they can get people financial help during the COVID-19 pandemic, and then ask for money or personal information, like your Social Security, bank account or credit card number. This is a SCAM.

Don’t trust anyone who offers financial help and then asks for money or personal information. Federal and local disaster workers do not solicit or accept money. The Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, U.S. Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control staff never charge for disaster assistance.

The Federal Trade Commission scams page has tips to help you avoid scams online, on the phone, by text and through email. If you see a scam, please report it to the Federal Trade Commission: ftc.gov/complaint.

Last updated April 1, 2020 | Source: FEMA, FTC

Rumor: Did FEMA seize supplies from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)?

Fact: FEMA does not, has not and will not divert orders of PPE from our federal, state and local partners, nor do we have the legal authority to do so. To date FEMA has coordinated shipments of more than 4.3 million respirators, 1 million facial/surgical masks, 1.5 million gloves and 14,000 face shields to VA facilities across the country. FEMA and VA staff have worked closely together during this response, and they are co-located in the National Response Coordination Center. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the VA issued a joint statement regarding these rumors on April 28, 2020.

Last updated April 29, 2020 | Source: FEMA, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Rumor: Is FEMA seizing medical supplies?

Fact: FEMA is not seizing or taking personal protective equipment (PPE) from state or local governments, hospitals, or anyone lawfully engaged in acquiring or distributing PPE.

If a hospital believes this has happened to them, it should be reported to the governor. If a governor believes that this has happened to their supplies, it should be reported to the FEMA Region. The situations below may also lead to incorrect assumptions of FEMA seizing or taking supplies:

  • The Department of Justice (DOJ) has assembled a COVID-19 Hoarding and Price Gouging task force to identify cases of price gouging and may alert FEMA to some shipments and stockpiles of PPE. Under Defense Production Act authorities, FEMA may then compel a price gouger to sell PPE in its control to FEMA at prevailing market prices, not gouging prices.
  • The perception that FEMA is “out-bidding” states and others for supplies is incorrect. Due the use of priority ratings in the Defense Production Act to reallocate critical resources, federal government requirements are put ahead of other orders so we can best assist areas most in need of supplies. As FEMA processes orders through the supply chain we maintain close coordination with states to identify potential bidding conflicts. If a bidding conflict occurs, we work closely with the state or tribe to resolve it in a way that best serves their needs.
  • As part of the current agreement with distributors for Project Airbridge, 50 percent of the supplies on each international flight are directed by the distributors to customers in areas with the most critical needs for those supplies based on HHS and CDC data.  If a company decides to cancel on a state contract in favor of a federal one, we work with the company and the state to resolve the matter in a way that best serves the people.

Last updated April 23, 2020 | Source: FEMA, Department of Justice (DOJ)

Rumor: Is FEMA suspending rent for people in certain states?

Fact: FEMA is only suspending rent for disaster survivors living in FEMA housing in California (through May 12, 2021) and  Florida (through Feb. 11, 2021). The timeline differs depending on when the program started for each disaster. FEMA contacts survivors who may be eligible for this program. Other sources of financial relief for renters may be available through state and local governments. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development also provides information on housing-related COVID-19 assistance.

Last updated January 7, 2021| Source: FEMA

Rumor: Is 5G cell phone technology linked to the cause of coronavirus?

Fact: A worldwide online conspiracy theory has attempted to link 5G cell phone technology as being one of the causes of the coronavirus. Many cell towers outside of the U.S. have been set on fire as a result.  5G technology does NOT cause coronavirus.

Last updated April 9, 2020 | Source: FEMA, Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

Rumor: Do I need a photo ID to be tested for COVID-19 at a Community Based Testing Center (CBTS)?

Fact: To determine if you are a first responder or healthcare worker you will need to provide your official workplace photo ID in order to be priority tested for COVID-19 at a Community Based Testing Center (CBTS). 

Last updated April 4, 2020 | Source: Health and Human Services (HHS)

Rumor: Is FEMA deploying the military?

The Department of Defense (DOD) traditionally supports FEMA disaster response through Defense Support to Civil Authorities, (DSCA), which is the process through which U.S. military assets and personnel can assist in missions normally carried out by civilian jurisdictions. Military forces support FEMA disaster response only when State, Tribal, or Territorial authorities request federal assistance, when all other state, federal, and partner resources are exhausted, and only when the use of military forces is legal, proper, and has no adverse effects on military readiness.

DOD has supported the COVID-19 response by providing aviation support and help in distributing PPE from federal stockpiles. DOD has also deployed medical teams to support hospital staffs throughout the country.

In addition, the National Guard has been supporting the response to COVID-19 in a federally funded duty status rarely used for disaster response. On March 22, 2020 the president directed the Secretary of Defense to deploy National Guard personnel to support state response efforts under a Title 32 duty status in response to FEMA mission assignments. Under Title 32, the National Guard remains under the command and control of their respective governors but is funded by the DOD.

The National Guard troops have supported a wide range of state requirements, including testing, contact tracing, logistics and distribution of PPE and other critical supplies, and most recently, vaccine distribution and administration. Their trained medical professionals are also supporting acute medical care. The current authorization for Title 32 National Guard extends until March 31, 2021.

Last updated January 15, 2021 | Source: FEMA, National Guard

Rumor: Is DHS deploying the National Guard?

Fact: On March 22, President Trump directed the Secretary of Defense to permit full federal reimbursement, by FEMA, for some states’ use of their National Guard forces.  The President’s action provides Governors continued command of their National Guard forces, while being federally funded under Title 32. Each state’s National Guard is still under the authority of the Governor and is working in concert with the Department of Defense.

Last updated April 2, 2020 | Source: FEMA, National Guard

Rumor: I’m on Medicare, and someone offered me a COVID-19 test if I provide my Medicare information. Should I accept?

Fact: If you receive any calls like this, please know that it is a scam to get your private personal information. Beneficiaries are being targeted in a number of ways, including telemarketing calls, social media platforms, and door-to-door visits. Do not give out your Medicare, Medicaid, or Social security numbers. And be cautious about any unsolicited requests for your personal information. If you think you need to be tested for the Coronavirus, please call your doctor, who can advise you on what tests you may need.

Last updated March 31, 2020 | Source: FEMA

Rumor: Are older people and those with existing conditions the only ones at risk for coronavirus?

Fact: Older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions are at higher risk of serious illness. But anyone can become sick, and symptoms can range from mild to severe regardless of how old you are or if you have other medical conditions.

Last updated March 26, 2020 | Source: FEMA

Rumor: Is the government sending everyone money?

Fact: A stimulus package has been passed by Congress to help Americans in need. As information becomes available, it will be updated on www.coronavirus.gov. Unfortunately, scammers are using COVID-19 to take advantage of people. Don’t trust anyone who tells you they can get you money now. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has more information about scams, including COVID-19 scams.

Last updated March 26, 2020 | Source: FEMA, FTC

Rumor: Is there a national lockdown or quarantine?

Fact: No. States and cities are responsible for announcing curfews, shelters in place, or other restrictions and safety measures.

Last updated March 26, 2020 | Source: FEMA

Rumor: Should I stock up on food and supplies?

Fact: Please only buy what your family needs for a week. Buying weeks or months of supplies in advance leads to shortages and makes it difficult for other families to take care of themselves. Consumer demand has been exceptionally high, especially for groceries, cleaning supplies, and healthcare products. Supply chains haven’t been disrupted, but stores need time to restock.

Last updated March 26, 2020 | Source: FEMA

Rumor: Should I worry about hantavirus?

Fact: No. The main way hantavirus spreads to people is through infected mice and rats. It is possible to catch hantavirus from another person, but it’s extremely rare. For more information about hantavirus, visit the CDC’s website.

Last updated March 26, 2020 | Source: FEMA, CDC