Stimulus checks came out in the past few days and the Better Business Bureau says people should be on the lookout for scammers who contact victims through text message, email and phone calls about their COVID-19 stimulus checks.
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 card. These are all red flags and should be reported to BBB Scam Tracker.
BBB officials advise people to 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.
Send your story to: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 507-831-3455. Stories will appear in an upcoming edition and in a Thursday website report. By sharing your story, you may prevent others from being scammed.
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