BBB: watch for scams as you await your stimulus check

Posted at 8:43 AM, Jan 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-15 10:02:55-05

IDAHO — Many Americans are still waiting for the latest stimulus check to hit their bank accounts or arrive in the mail, but as they wait, scammers have been taking advantage of eager consumers.

Rebecca Barr from the Better Business Bureau says the new scam comes in three forms: email, text, or by phone call. The email or text will instruct you to click a link to "Request Your Benefit Payment." Once you click, you'll be taken to a form, prompting you to enter your personal information to "ensure you're getting all the payments owed to you," but it's only a ploy to steal your information which then leads to identity theft.

In the phone variation, the scammer pretends to be calling from a government agency. The con artist insists you need to "confirm” your personal information before you can receive your stimulus check or states you can pay a small processing fee in order to receive your funds immediately.

If you receive one of these calls, texts, or emails, Barr says your first move should be to stay calm. Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is. Scammers will try to get you to act before you have a chance to think.

Next, don't reply directly. Don’t respond to the call, text, or email. If you think the message may be real, find the legitimate contact information on a government agency's website and contact them directly.

Finally, Barr says don't pay any money for a "free" government grant or program. If you have to pay money to claim a "free" government grant, it is not really free. A real government agency will not ask you to pay an advanced processing fee.

If you're looking for legitimate information on where your money may be, check the official IRS website. This will ask you for some personal information so make sure you're on the real website on a secure network and not public Wi-Fi.

For more information, click here.