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BBB: Government relief checks target of latest coronavirus scam

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Posted at 11:43 AM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 11:43:24-04

LEXINGTON, KY (LEX 18) — The federal stimulus package announced this week which includes a check sent to every American has become the latest target of a scam. The Better Business Bureau reports it has already received reports on the BBB Scam Tracker about government imposters calling about the checks.

According to the BBB, the scam works by receiving a message or seeing a social media post claiming that you qualify for money from a COVID-19 government grant. Then, if you click the link, BBB officials say you are taken to what seems like an official website asking you to enter personal information and banking details. The BBB Scam Tracker has received reports of people being contacted through text message, social media and phone calls. They say one version of the scam comes in the form of a Facebook post telling seniors about a special grant to help pay medical bills. Other versions of the scam claim that you can get up to $150K if you share your personal details and pay a small "processing fee."

The Better Business Bureau says no matter what the message, don't click. In addition to scamming you out of money, they can also download malware to your device and use your information for identity theft.

The BBB wants to remind everyone that government agencies do not communicate through social media. They also ask that you not pay money for a "free" government grant. Other reminders from the Better Business Bureau: check for look-alikes and don't assume an offer in a social media message is from a real friend.

If you’ve spotted a scam (whether or not you’ve lost money), report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others avoid falling victim to scams.