In a time of crisis, scammers prey on people’s vulnerabilities and emotions to get what they want. The present-day is no exception. People all across the United States have and continue to receive stimulus checks to help them and their families during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic. Many are currently unemployed and rely on State and Government checks to cover their living expenses.
With this being said, it’s more crucial than ever to ensure that you don’t fall victim to the various stimulus check scams that are happening.
Phone Call, Email, and Text Message Impersonation
The most common forms of communication used today are phone calls, email, and text messaging. It’s no coincidence that these are also the main methods that scammers use to contact their victims. Pertaining to the recent Stimulus Checks, scammers have been impersonating the IRS, State Unemployment Department, and other official entities in order to scam people.
These scammers may ask you:
- To provide your personal information including your full name and social security number.
- Debit Card, Credit Card, and/or Bank Account Information.
- Download an app or visit a site and enter your information.
For example, a Florida woman was scammed out of $2,000 in relation to her Stimulus Check. She received a call from a 1-800 that didn’t come up as a scam and seemed to be from Apple. They said her Apple ID was compromised and that she needed to download that app, Zelle, and enter her financial information.
In general, NEVER answer texts, emails, and calls from those claiming to be from a government agency or company. Usually, the real companies or agencies will not contact a person without having been previously in communication with them.
“Faster” Stimulus Payments
During these troubling times, many are struggling and are living paycheck to paycheck or are on unemployment. Every time a new Stimulus Check is sent out, people often wonder if there’s a faster way to get it as they need it. Scammers are using this fact to con people out of their money.
Whether via call, text, or email, scammers will impersonate a government agency or legitimate company and offer a way for you to get your stimulus check faster. However, the catch is that you must provide your personal and financial information, and possibly pay a fee.
Be warned, if anyone offers you the option to get your stimulus check faster they are a scammer. There is absolutely no way for any United States Citizen to get their check sooner than others.
Since most of the stimulus checks are mailed to recipients, scammers are mailing out fake checks that look like the real stimulus checks. Once the target deposits the fake check, the scammer contacts the victim saying the amount or something else was incorrect and they must return the money. Then, the victim sends the scammer the money. However, they soon learn that they were actually scammed out of their own money and will not receive the money promised by the scammer.
Anytime you receive a stimulus check via mail, always review the check and the envelope it came in. Click here to learn what a real stimulus check includes.
For your protection, always make sure to stay vigilant in trying not to get scammed. Put your emotions aside and be rational when contacted by anyone. To further protect yourself, learn how to tell if you are being scammed online.