Coronavirus Stimulus Scams Are Targeting Members
Fraudsters have been quick to deploy scams involving the coronavirus stimulus package that would include direct payments to individuals and married couples filing jointly. Many variations of the scam could impact you!
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 post /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.
Don’t let fraudsters scam you into providing your account number under the pretense of direct depositing the stimulus payment to your account. And never give anyone your Online Banking account number, password, or security questions so they can access you Online Banking to “electronically deposit your check”.
Government agencies do not communicate through social media outlets, such as Facebook. And NEVER 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
Stay safe out there. And remember, wash your hands!