BBB warns of stimulus check scams on social media

Just days after President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, scammers are looking to cash in on vulnerable people.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — Some Americans will soon receive federal money as lawmakers work to relieve the effects coronavirus has had on the economy. But already scammers are looking to take advantage of people.

“Any time there’s uncertainty surrounding something big like the coronavirus, like the stimulus package, it’s ripe for scammers to take advantage of,” said Troy Baker with the Better Business Bureau.

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The BBB has already seen cases where scammers will set up text messages, emails or social media messages, providing the victim a link and claiming that it will help make sure the government has the right information so people can get you your check.

“The government isn’t sending you a text message,” Baker said. “They’re not going to send you an email. They’re not reaching out on social media. Any time anyone says ‘this is the link you go to to get your check,’ that’s not accurate.”

According to the bill, any payment you might receive will come electronically to the account you’ve authorized to receive federal tax refunds. If the IRS doesn’t have that direct deposit information, you may need to wait longer to get a check.

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Baker also said that while many people are working remotely and relying heavily on email to communicate with coworkers, it’s important to keep an eye out for imposter accounts and phishing scams.

“Double check the email addresses, especially if they start asking you for things that aren’t normal, like documentation changing bank account numbers or confidential records or asking you to go buy a gift card for something,” he said.

“Unusual requests like that are usually a sign that you’re being phished by scammers and they’re looking to get either your personal information, or get you to click a link so they can infect your system.”

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