Posted: March 27, 2020
Updated: March 31, 2020
Scammers are now actively using the COVID-19 situation to take advantage of people through phishing emails and text messages. These emails or texts will claim to be from legitimate organizations with information about the coronavirus, requesting that you click on links or attachments for details. Some scammers are stating that they are giving away free money or products in an attempt to trick those who are out of work or in quarantine. We encourage you to always identify the sender of an email. Avoid any emails that encourage you to “act now”. Don’t click on any links, and never respond to a message directly.
Another scam going around involves individuals or companies attempting to sell products that “cure” the COVID-19 virus. At this time, there is no known cure.
According to the Better Business Bureau, fraudsters are now targeting Facebook users with a post "informing them that they can get a special grant to help pay medical bills." The link within the post directs you to a fake website claiming to be a government agency called the “U.S. Emergency Grants Federation." This site then asks you to provide your Social Security Number to "verify your identity." Government agencies do not and will not communicate through social media outlets, such as Facebook.
If you’re looking for legitimate, up-to-date information on the latest coronavirus news, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s site directly at www.cdc.gov.
Stimulus Package Scams
The FBI has issued warnings, notifying Americans that the US Government will never send an email out asking for people’s personal information to get federal aid. Also, no phone calls will be made asking for that information. According to The Ways and Means Committee, eligibility for checks from the IRS will be based on 2018 and 2019 returns. For Social Security (retirement and disability) and Railroad Retirement beneficiaries, they will use information from the Social Security Administration and Railroad Retirement Board. Checks will be sent directly to individuals. Lastly, you will never be required to pay a fee for a government grant. A government agency will never request an advanced processing fee to receive the grant. Beware of fake government agencies promoted by fraudsters. The only official list of all U.S. federal grant-making agencies can be found at www.grants.gov.
Report a Scam
Track and report scams in your area to the Better Business Bureau here.