Phony websites claiming to sell face masks or fake COVID-19 test kits and emails peddling cures are just a few of the dozens of scams being fielded by law enforcement as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
While scams offering free government money have been around for decades, Randy Hutchinson, president of the Better Business Bureau of the MidSouth, said the coronavirus has led to an explosion of fraudulent activity in the last few weeks — ever since Congress passed the bill that includes sending emergency payments to most Americans.
“If somebody contacts you in any way — phone call, email, text message, social media — and says, ‘We’re ready to send you your stimulus payment,’ or perhaps a free government grant, and asks you to pay money up front, it is a scam,” he said.
The government will deposit money directly into the bank account you included on your tax return last year or will mail you a check, Hutchinson said, adding that if anyone claiming to be from a government agency asks for your Social Security number, bank account or credit card number, they are a scammer.
The Better Business Bureau of the MidSouth says that every day, Tennesseans are reporting new COVID-19-related scams, in which fraudsters attempt to steal money or personal information. (Adobe Stock)