• BBB Scam Alert: New Round of Stimulus Checks Could Trigger More Scams

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    March 23, 2021
     

    BBB® - Tuesday Tips

    Additional Monies 

    Could Mean More Scams

    new round of stimulus checks are on the way. Direct deposit payments have already made their way to Americans' bank accounts and checks will be mailed out in the coming weeks. Previously, BBB Scam Tracker received numerous reports from people who were contacted by scammers through text message, email, and phone calls about their COVID-19 stimulus checks. BBB believes many of these same tactics may be used again.

    Is that call or text a con or the real deal?

    Watch out for email or text messages instructing to click a link to "request benefit payments." The link connects to an application prompting the entering of personal information in order to "make sure you are getting all the payments owed to you." Beware! This “application” is really a way to phish for personal details and commit identity theft.

    In a phone variation of the con, the scammer pretends to call from a government agency. The con artist insists on being paid immediately - or confirmation of personal information - before a stimulus check is sent. Other times, scammers claim additional funds are available or that the consumer can receive funds immediately once a small “processing fee" is paid with a pre-paid debit/gift card. These are all red flags and should be reported to BBB Scam Tracker.

    Tips to Spot a Government Impostor Scam: 

    • Stay calm. Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is. Scammers try to get people to act before thinking about the situation. 
    • Don't reply directly. Don’t respond to unknown calls, texts, or emails. If you think the message may be real, find the government agencies’ contact information on the internet and contact them directly.
    • Check for look-alikes. Research to see if the government agency or organization that contacted you actually exists. Scammers often make up names of agencies and/or grants.
    • Do not pay any money for a "free" government grant or program. It is not really free if there is a fee involved. A real government agency will not ask for an advanced processing fee. Instead, find out if the agency is legitimate by checking grants.gov

    Additional Information

    Learn more about government grant scams in this BBB tip and for more information about scams related to the coronavirus, see BBB.org/coronavirus.

    If you’ve spotted a scam (whether or not you’ve lost money), report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others avoid falling victim to scams.

     

    Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

    Contact:
    Tammy Ward, Communications Director
    tammy@nwfl.bbb.org, (850) 429-0002