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Coronavirus Stimulus Scams Surface

In response to the federal coronavirus stimulus package, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) reported that fraudsters have deployed a variety of scams involving stimulus checks with claims that include direct payments to individuals and married couples filing jointly. The BBB Scam Tracker has received several reports of coronavirus scams where individuals are contacted through text messages, social media posts and messages, or phone calls.

Government agencies do not communicate through social media outlets, such as Facebook.

One version of the scam targets Seniors through a Facebook post informing them they can get a special grant to help pay medical bills. The link within the post takes them to a bogus website claiming to be a government agency called the “U.S. Emergency Grants Federation,” where they are asked to provide their Social Security Number under the guise of needing to verify their identity.

Never pay a fee for a government grant. A government agency will never request an advanced processing fee to receive the grant.

In other versions, fraudsters claim individuals can get additional money – up to $150,000 in some cases. The victims are asked to pay a “processing fee” to receive a grant. In North Carolina, there are several reports of a coronavirus scam in which potential victims received phone calls. Fraudsters told the victims they qualify for a $1,000 to $14,000 coronavirus stimulus payment; however, they must first pay a processing fee.

Fraudsters may also attempt to scam individuals into providing their account number under the pretense of direct depositing the stimulus payment to their account.

Never give your account number, member number, Personal Identification Number (PIN) or password to anyone, including over the phone, text or email. A legitimate financial institution will have ways to verify your identity without requesting this information. Our Campus Federal financial service representatives may call to check on members to let them know we are here for them during the stay-at-home order, but we will never ask for personal information during these calls.