Rockford BBB Says More Stimulus Money Means More Scams
At this writing, it's Wednesday, March 17th, and St. Patrick's Day. It's also the official payment date for the third round of stimulus payments to Americans who are eligible for them.
Some of the payments began going out on Friday, so some people are already in possession of their stimulus funds, with the IRS saying that 85% of Americans are set to get theirs very soon.
Which brings us to the scam artists out there who are as excited to see this money going out as the people who are on the receiving list. As we've seen play out so many times before when there's a widespread distribution of funds to the American people, the people who make their living taking money away from others get ready to rock.
Our friend Dennis Horton, Director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) says that now is the time to be extra vigilant against the scams and scam artists who would like nothing better than to add your stimulus payment to their own pockets.
Consumers should watch out for an email or text messages instructing them to click a link to "request benefit payments." The link connects to an application prompting the entering of personal information in order to "make sure you are getting all the payments owed to you." This “application” is really a way to phish for personal details and commit identity theft.
The BBB, along with other consumer protection advocates, say that there's a few different ways scammers will go about trying to take your money. One way is by pretending to be an agent of the federal government, whether it's the IRS or Treasury Department, and tricking you into revealing personal information that allows them access to your money.
Other ways, according to the Rockford BBB, include reaching out to you on social media (the real federal agencies don't ever do that) and asking for your Social Security number for "verification," or offering to get you your stimulus funds more quickly if you'll just pay a "processing fee."
Don't fall for any of it.