Scams involving government imposters skyrocketed following the last round of stimulus payments, which the BBB expects to happen again.null
“If you got money earlier in the year, it’s probably going to come in a very similar manner,” Troy Baker, BBB Educational Foundation Director for the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan. “You didn’t have to click on a text message, you didn’t have to answer an email, you didn’t have to talk to the social security administration to get it. That’s not how it worked then and it’s not how it will work now.”
Baker said in a common scam, people receive emails and text messages instructing them to click a link to request benefit payments. It will take them to an application with prompts to enter information to ensure they receive their payments.
Those applications are really phishing schemes, designed to steal your personal information. Variations include a scammer calling and pretending to be a government agency, saying you need to pay a small amount of money or confirm your personal information before you can receive your payment.
Other times, scammers will claim that you can get additional money or receive your funds immediately if you pay a small processing fee.
Baker said the easiest way to spot a scam is if someone requests your personal information unprompted. If someone reaches out claiming to be from an agency, Baker said not to give them your information without doing your due diligence.
“These scammers always use pressure tactics,” Baker said. “You have to act now, you have to act quickly, you don’t have time to think about it. They want you to move quickly and do something you shouldn’t do.” If you’re unsure about the legitimacy of communication, look up the phone number, website or email for the agency and reach out to them.