BBB Scam Alert: Coronavirus Stimulus Check

Coronavirus outbreak: What you need to know

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Scammers across the nation continue to trick people with free money scams in an attempt to steal their money or information.

The BBC said that most of the recent scams reported involves the stimulus checks that the government will be sending out to citizens.

Here are some of the scams reported to BBB this week:

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  • A phone call saying that student loans qualify you for immediate COVID-19 relief. The woman who reported this scam said she doesn’t have any student loans.
  • Two Facebook messages from someone posing as a government official that that says you qualify for an immediate COVID -19 grant. Both targets were offered grants of $50,000 - $300,000 if they paid an upfront fee by gift cards or wire. One victim said the person communicating with her was posing as William Barr, U.S. Attorney General.
  • A Facebook message from a “friend” that asks you to call a specified number and give your Social Security Number so you can find out when you’ll get your government relief check. The woman who reported this scam said several of her church members had told her about it thinking it was real.
  • A text message asking for your Social Security Number to see if you qualified for $50,000 from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The money was for seniors affected by coronavirus.
  • A text message stating that if you confirmed your bank account information and paid $50, you could get your stimulus check immediately.
  • The FBI has warned of a text message scam that appears to be from Costco offering you $100 to spend there. The FBI says if you click on the link, malware will be downloaded to your device.

Better Business Bureau said to remember:

  • The government will not ask you to pay anything up front to get the stimulus money. No fees. No charges. No nothing.
  • The government does not need you to provide your personal information in order to receive your payment. They will deposit money into the account you gave on your tax return last year or send you a check. Anyone asking for your Social Security number, bank account, or credit card number is a scammer.
  • The checks are not in the mail…yet. Anyone who tells you they can expedite your check for a fee is a scammer.
  • Never give your bank account information to someone you don’t know. Scammers will call and pressure you to divulge your bank account information so they can steal the money in the account.
  • Look-alikes and sound-alikes aren’t the real thing. Just because the a caller claims to be with the government doesn’t mean he is. Scammers make up official-sounding names to fool you.
  • Phone numbers can deceive. Con artists “spoof” their phone numbers to change what you see in caller ID. They could be calling from anywhere.

If you spot a scam, please report it to the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org/scamtracker.