PHOENIX, Arizona — Editor's Note: The above video is from a previous report on a phishing scam.
The Better Business Bureau has received several reports about government impostors calling about checks related to the proposed federal stimulus package.
The $2 trillion economic stabilization package is the largest of its kind in modern American history. The Senate approved the package Wednesday night, sending it over to the House for a vote scheduled Friday. If passed, the legislation would send millions of Americans direct payments of $1,200 and an additional $500 per child.
Cue the scammers.
The BBB Scam Tracker has received reports of people already being contacted about the checks through text messages, social media posts, and phone calls.
One scam involves a Facebook post telling seniors about a special grant to help pay medical bills. A link included in the post leads to a website claiming to be the “U.S. Emergency Grants Federation.” According to the BBB, the phony site asks for your Social Security number to verify your eligibility (red flag).
In other versions, scammers claim you can get additional money – up to $150,000 – if you fill out a personal information form (red flag city).
Other red flags BBB representatives want you to watch out for:
- Government agencies do not communicate through social media platforms. If you receive a message on Facebook, it’s fake.
- You should never have to pay any money for a “free” government grant. If you are asked to pay to claim a “free” government grant, it is not really free. A real government agency will not ask you to pay any sort of advanced processing fee. The only official list of all U.S. federal grant-making agencies is grants.gov.
- Check for look-alikes. Be sure to do your research and see if a government agency or organization truly exists. Find contact information on your own and call to be sure the person reaching out to you is legitimate.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it is.
If you spot a scam, report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can save others from falling victim to scams.