The uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 has given scammers a prime opportunity to take advantage of people. Below are some scams to be aware of during this crisis.
FAKE STIMULUS CHECKS
Scammers are calling and pretending to process stimulus checks (also called Economic Impact Payments) to get personal information, such as Social Security numbers, banking information, or credit card numbers. Some have requested a fee to be paid to receive the stimulus payment. Do not provide any personal information or pay money; it is a scam.
FAKE EMA (EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY) ROBOCALLS
Automated calls claiming to be from the Emergency Management Agency are used to get personal information. Hang up without responding if you receive these calls. EMA would never call to request personal information.
Beware of emails or other attempts to ‘phish’ for personal, financial, and/or medical information. These attempts may appear to come from a financial institution or a government agency, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When in doubt, do not share information.
Ignore advertisements promoting cures for COVID-19 – and refrain from investing in businesses touting products, services, or cures for COVID-19. Currently, there are no vaccines, prescription medications, or over-the-counter products available to prevent, treat, or cure COVID-19.
Do not respond to calls, emails, or other communication claiming to be from the Treasury Department and offering COVID-19 related grants or stimulus payments in exchange for personal information, or an advance fee, or charge of any kind, including the purchase of gift cards. It is a scam.
DON’T LET YOURSELF BE A VICTIM: SPOT THE RED FLAGS
Asked for personal information, such as Social Security number, banking information, credit card numbers, or other financial account information
Promised to receive stimulus funds sooner
Requested payment on an unfamiliar account
Encouraged to invest in an opportunity specifically related to COVID-19
Received an unexpected text message or email with a link to fill out a survey to receive a prize
FIGHT BACK: EDUCATE YOURSELF
People are encouraged to check reliable news sources for updates and information during this crisis, such as:
*IRS.gov for government stimulus payment information
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts for more information on scams
Coronavirus.ohio.gov or 1-833-427-5634 for COVID-19 information and questions
*Please note that you will need to provide your Social Security number and banking information to check the status of your expected stimulus payment at IRS.gov.