During a crisis, we often see the best in people but sadly, we also see the worst.
New reports are quickly surfacing of scam artists trying to con people by calling or sending a text about their COVID-19 stimulus relief check.
No sooner had the relief package been named when the Better Business Bureau was flooded with reports from people around the country of a new scam.
Via either text or call, people were being told they qualified for between $1,000 and $14,000 from the federal government due to the new stimulus package.
There are also reports of scammers offering test kits and other supplies to the unknowing.
The Federal Trade Commission has published a guide to help prevent Americans from falling prey to these criminals:
- Scammers will exploit any situation they think will help them be more successful in their scam. With the outbreak of COVID-19, scammers have found a platform that preys on people’s fears and could make them more likely to be victimized.
- Be aware that criminals are attempting to use malicious websites and apps that appear to share virus-related information to gain and lock access to your devices until payment is received. Criminals will likely continue to use new methods to exploit COVID-19 worldwide. Report scams and attempted fraud at ic3.gov.
- Although this is happening, you can avoid falling prey to this type of scam. By remembering these four tips, the public can both protect themselves and help stop this type of activity:
- Avoid opening attachments and clicking on links within emails from senders you don’t recognize.
- Always independently verify the information originates from a legitimate source (for example, check the CDC website)
- Refuse to supply login credentials or financial data in response to an email.
- Visit websites by inputting their domains manually.
Another piece of advice would be that if anyone is asking you for your social security number, bank account, credit card, or to pay any money upfront, you are more than likely dealing with a scammer.
To see a full list of the latest coronavirus scams, you can go directly to the Federal Trade Commission website: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/coronavirus-scams-what-ftc-doing