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COVID-19 Scams: Updates & Reminders

ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENT SCAMS – TEXT
Scammers are texting taxpayers and trying to trick them into disclosing bank account information or other personal identifying information under the guise of receiving an Economic Impact Payment. The scam text message states: “You have received a direct deposit of $1,200 from COVID-19 TREAS FUND. Further action is required to accept this payment into your account. Continue here to accept this payment…” The text includes a link to a fake phishing web address, which appears to come from a state agency or relief organization.

‘PHISHING’ EMAILS
Beware of emails and other attempts to ‘phish’ for your personal, financial, and/or medical information. These attempts may appear to come from your financial institution or a government agency, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When in doubt, do not share your information. 

UNEMPLOYMENT “MULE” SCAMS
Scammers file unemployment claims in someone else’s name and have those benefits directly deposited to another individual’s banking account. The unsuspecting third party (the account holders) believe they are helping “friends” collect their benefits. Scammers ask to withdrawal these funds and send to them in the form of gift cards or money orders—and sometimes offer account holders to keep a small portion of the proceeds for their “help.” The funds are fraudulently credited to the account holders, who are then out the money when it is deducted from their accounts.

RED FLAGS

  • Asked for personal identifying information, such as Social Security number, banking information, credit card numbers, or other financial account information

  • Asked to send any money back to someone while keeping a small portion

  • Unexpected deposits

  • Unexpected or unsolicited contact from alleged government agencies or other organizations

EDUCATE YOURSELF

  • Visit IRS.gov* for government stimulus payment information (*you will need to provide your Social Security number and banking information to check the status of your expected stimulus payment at IRS.gov)

  • For more information on scams, visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) site at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts

  • For even more information on scams, especially those affecting Ohioans, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-427-5634 for COVID-19 information and questions

HPW TO REPORT A SCAM
Visit the Ohio Attorney General website at https://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/About-AG/Contact/Report-A-Scam and/or the Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) website at www.ic3.gov to report scams

PRACTICES TO AVOID

  • Giving out account information for someone else’s direct deposit.  Not only have you provided another party with your account information, but you have also provided authority to debit your account later.

  • Expecting “free money”.  Being asked to send any money back to someone while keeping a small portion is a red flag.

  • Withdrawing unexpected deposits.  Contact your financial institution if you receive unexpected funds in your account. 

SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS

  • Be cautious with friend requests from strangers.  Try to keep your social networking friends to those you know in actual life, outside the social media platform.

  • Do not assume an offer in a message from a Facebook friend is legitimate.  Call or speak with the individual in person to verify they contacted you.

  • Government agencies do not communicate with individuals through social media channels.  Be wary of unsolicited messages.

Why call when you can text? Members can now text DoverPhila with their mobile devices. Click the button to get started.

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