Skip to content

Beware of COVID-19 stimulus check scams

The Better Business Bureau says it continues to receive reports from consumers of coronavirus-related scams attempting to steal their money or their information.
Many of the scams reported to BBB recently involve the stimulus checks the government will soon be sending to citizens.
BBB notes that free government money scams have been around for years. But now scammers are ramping up their efforts by using this impending payment to Americans in their pitch, using the names of real government agencies and officials.
Here are some of the scams recently reported to BBB:
•A phone call saying that student loans qualify you for immediate COVID-19 relief. The woman who reported this scam said she doesn’t have any student loans.
•Two Facebook messages from someone posing as a government official that say you qualify for an immediate COVID -19 grant. Both targets were offered grants of $50,000 – $300,000 if they paid an upfront fee by gift cards or wire. One victim said the person communicating with her was posing as William Barr, U.S. Attorney General.
•A Facebook message from a “friend” that asks you to call a specified number and give your Social Security Number so you can find out when you’ll get your government relief check. The woman who reported this scam said several of her church members had told her about it thinking it was real.
•A text message asking for your Social Security Number to see if you qualified for $50,000 from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The money was for seniors affected by coronavirus.
•A text message stating that if you confirmed your bank account information and paid $50, you could get your stimulus check immediately.
•The FBI has warned of a text message scam that appears to be from Costco offering you $100 to spend there. The FBI says if you click on the link, malware will be downloaded to your device.
Better Business Bureau asks that consumers share these tips with your family members to help keep you all safe from COVID-19 scams:
•The government will not ask you to pay anything up front to get the stimulus money. No fees. No charges. No nothing.
•The government does not need you to provide your personal information in order to receive your payment. They will deposit money into the account you gave on your tax return last year or send you a check. Anyone asking for your Social Security number, bank account, or credit card number is a scammer.
•Anyone who tells you they can expedite your stimulus check for a fee is a scammer.
•Never give your bank account information to someone you don’t know. Scammers will call and pressure you to divulge your bank account information so they can steal the money in the account.
•Look-alikes and sound-alikes aren’t the real thing. Just because the a caller claims to be with the government doesn’t mean he is. Scammers make up official-sounding names to fool you.
•Phone numbers can deceive. Con artists “spoof” their phone numbers to change what you see in caller ID. They could be calling from anywhere.
Consumers should be aware of coronavirus-related scams that are emerging and changing daily. Visit bbb.org/coronavirus for up to date information on scams and fraud.
If you spot a scam, it can be reported to the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org/scamtracker to help keep consumers informed of the latest tricks.

1 Comment

  1. David G Lessnau on May 5, 2020 at 6:28 pm

    A friend texted 540 724 6623 to Agent Donald Williams. They supposedly gave her $100,000 in cash but she paid $2000 up front. Has to be a scam, but she tells me she has the actual cash in hand.

Leave a Comment