Fraudsters haven’t wasted any time with scams related to the coronavirus. In response to the federal stimulus package, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) reported that fraudsters have deployed a variety of scams involving coronavirus stimulus checks.
The BBB Scam Tracker has received several reports of coronavirus scams where individuals are contacted through text messages, social media posts/messages, or phone calls.
- One version of the scam targets seniors through a Facebook post informing them that they can get a special grant to help pay medical bills. The link within the post takes them to a bogus website claiming to be a government agency called the “U.S. Emergency Grants Federation” where they are asked to provide their Social Security Number under the guise of needing to verify their identity.
- In other versions, fraudsters claim individuals can get additional money –up to $150,000 in some cases. The victims are asked to pay a “processing fee” to receive a grant.
- In North Carolina, there are several reports of a coronavirus scam in which potential victims received phone calls. Fraudsters told the victims they qualified for a $1,000 to $14,000 coronavirus stimulus payment; however, they must first pay a processing fee.
- Fraudsters may also attempt to scam you into providing their account number under the pretense of direct depositing the stimulus payment to their account. The IRS will not call you to collect your banking information. For updates on Economic Impact Payments, please see https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus
Keep these new scams as well as our Identity Theft & Fraud Prevention Guidelines in mind when answering phone calls, emails, and messages.