Eye on Scams: Beware of scammers taking advantage of stimulus checks

Eye on Scams

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- The U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS announced the distribution of economic impact payments will begin soon.

Experts say this can lead to an increase of scammers asking for personal information.
The stimulus checks will lead to an increase of scam phone calls, text messages or emails asking for personal information.

“Scammers following the headlines like they do are going to try to take advantage of this and steal our personal identifiable information or some of our banking account information as well,” scammers claim you need to provide it to receive the benefits.
Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said.

The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers not to give out any personal information to fake communications, as the IRS says these stimulus checks are being sent out automatically.​​

“Typically, what they’re going to do is reach out a consumer, whether it’s email or phone calls and claim that they’re with those government agencies, and of course, they need that information from you in order to receive your payment so they’re going to ask for your social security number,” explained Babin. “They’re going to ask for your bank account information. Any of that information that they can try to steal from you is what they’re going to ask for.”

​​Experts warn seniors are especially vulnerable to these kinds of scams. ​​

“We had a call with the Federal Trade Commission. We’ve been spending a lot of time with them, combining resources and information to empower consumers as best we can and in their call this morning, they’ve said that they’ve had over 7,800 complaints coronavirus related and just half of those have come in the past week,” added Babin.​

The Better Business Bureau said it’s important during this time to check on elderly neighbors who may need help, to be sure they are made aware of the most recent scams relevant to the coronavirus crisis. 

Here are some tips from the BBB on how you protect yourself from scammers taking advantage of the stimulus checks:

  • No payment or personal information is required to receive a recovery check. 
  • The IRS has your tax information and will mail the check directly to you.​ The IRS will use your tax return for your address and to calculate and send payments.​
  • No one will call or email you from the government regarding your check. ​If you get a text, phone call, or email asking you for your personal information, do not respond.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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