Authorities are warning residents of an increase in online scams related to the distribution of stimulus checks that are being distributed.
The FTC reports that it received 18,235 fraud reports that cost victims $ 13.44 million. Google reported that it is blocking 18 million fraudulent emails every day and 150,000 fraudulent stimulus verification sites have already been launched.
This week, SocialCatfish.com released the report “5 online stimulus check scams to avoid. “The report is based on information from the FTC, the FBI and the IRS during the coronavirus pandemic.
Scams and how to avoid them are listed below.
1) ROBOCALL VERIFICATION SCAMS: The scammer will call you pretending to be the IRS and ask for your personal financial information. They will claim that they need this to deposit the stimulus check into their account and will also request a fee to deposit the stimulus check. They actually want your information so they can pretend to be you, claim the check for themselves. They can also drain your bank account of their funds with this information and, in exchange, they will keep the fee without a check.
How to avoid: Do not give out any personal information. The government already has your information on file when you filed your taxes. The stimulus check will either be automatically deposited into your account or will be mailed to your home.
2) EMAIL AND TEXT MAIL: Scammers will pretend to be the IRS or the federal government by sending you an email or text message with a link to click and receive your check. If you click on the link, your electronic device will be plagued with malware and your information will be stolen.
How to avoid: Do not click on any link sent to you by email or text message. Again, the government already has your information, and checks are either directly deposited or mailed.
3) ID THEFT SCAMS: If you have not yet received your stimulus check and the official IRS website says otherwise, it could be possible that you are a victim of identity theft. This means that a scammer has found a way to steal your information, such as your SSN, and has claimed your stimulus check for itself.
How to avoid: If you think you have been a victim of this type of fraud, you can report it here.
4) GOOGLE SEARCH SCAM: The scammers have created copies of the official IRS “Get My Payment” site and have updated the terms of their search engine so that people who search Google for information find these fake sites. Once a person finds your site, they think it is the official IRS website and enter their information.
How to avoid: Don’t go to any website to get your stimulus check unless it’s an official .gov or .ca site and be careful to be redirected to a website from a reputable news source.
5) THIRD PARTY STIMULUS VERIFICATION SCAMS: Scammers have created their own stimulus verification programs claiming that they can give you additional money along with the government. They will mail you letters, put flyers in your car, or send you an email or social media message trying to advertise your show. This happened to a man in Florida who claimed to have received an official $ 3,000 check mailed with a letter. Another example of this is a Costco relief program, which claims to help with food and money during this time.
How to avoid: Just believe in government-announced stimulus control programs reported by reputable news media. If you can’t find it informed by reputable news media, it’s a scam.
If you find a coronavirus scam, contact the local police or file a complaint with the FTC. For more information on how to get your stimulus check and if you’re eligible, visit the legitimate IRS website.