coronavirus scams (generic)

(WFSB) - The expected government relief checks have triggered coronavirus scams.

The $2 trillion plan passed by the Senate overnight included sending money to Americans to offshoot any income lost due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

RELATED: Senate passes coronavirus aid plan

The Better Business Bureau serving Connecticut reported on Thursday that scammers are taking advantage of the news.

It said government imposters are calling, texting and posting to Facebook. They're specifically targeting seniors.

The imposters claim that in order to receive a check, personal and banking information must be given.

The BBB said there are several versions of the scam.

In some cases, victims are asked to visit a website where they have to enter their personal information, including a social security number. The site claims that the information is "necessary" to verify the victim's identity to "process the grant."

In one version of the scam, the imposters claim victims can get an additional $150,000.

In another, they claim the funds can be given out immediately if the victims pay a "processing fee."

The BBB warned that no matter what the messages say, don't click them.

It offered tips on how to spot the scams:

  • Government agencies do not communicate through social media avenues like Facebook. So, be wary of unsolicited messages.
  • Do not pay any money for a "free" government grant. If you have to pay money to claim a "free" government grant, it's not really free. A real government agency will not ask you to pay an 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 actually exists. Find contact info on your own and call them to be sure the person you’ve heard from is legitimate.
  • Avoid clicking links sent via text message. It is extremely unlikely that the government will text you and ask you to follow a link and enter personal information in order to confirm your identity and baking details.
  • Don’t assume an offer in a social media message is from a real friend. It’s easier for scammers to impersonate real people on social media. Call your friend to verify it was they contacted you (and share this Scam Alert with them if they are spreading false information).

For more information about coronavirus-related scams, head to the BBB's website here.

Copyright 2020 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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