Phony relief checks and more coronavirus scams

Phony relief checks and more coronavirus scams

Scams related to the current coronavirus pandemic have not subsided in the least. If anything, they’re ramping up with old scams getting a new coat of paint with a coronavirus slant. Here are some more scams that we have found in the news dealing with covid-19.

The US Attorney’s Office and the IRS are warning about scams related to the coronavirus relief payments. We’ve already covered some of those scams at this link. More recently, these offices have also mentioned that fake checks may be sent out by scammers designed to look like authentic checks. They warn that fake checks may be made out in an unusual amount. Actual government relief payments should be at a rounded dollar amount and not have any cents in the payment. These phony checks may also ask you to call a number or go to a website to verify the check. This is also a scam designed to steal your personal and financial information. As has been noted previously, most of the relief payments will be deposited directly into your bank account.

Coronavirus scams have gotten so out of hand that the Federal Trade Commission is asking people to make a game out of it but one that can teach others about the scams. On their website, the FTC has what they’re calling an FTC Scam Bingo Card. They’re asking that if you’ve been approached in one or more of these scams to mark it off on their bingo card and share it to social media using the hashtag #FTCScamBingo. The more people who know about these scams the less likely they are to become a victim.

A copy of the FTC Scam Bingo Card (click for larger)

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is warning about various insurance frauds related to coronavirus but one particular one caught our eye that is related to social distancing and it’s the staged accident scam. The most common one is known as the ‘Swoop and Squat’. This is when there are a pair of cars and one gets beside you while the other one gets in front of you and stops suddenly causing a rear-end collision. With social distancing and quarantines put in place the scammers are hoping that they’ll be fewer victims for these accidents. The best way to protect yourself against these scammers is to get a dashboard camera and to always get the police involved in any vehicular collision that warrants it.

If you see a coronavirus testing site that has popped up overnight, it may not be legitimate. The City of Louisville, Kentucky recently had to deal with three popup testing sites that the city classified as scams. These testing sites were not working with the state and could have potentially been committing health insurance fraud. If you see one of these testing sites, contact your local city government to see if they’re legitimate or not.

Lastly, in South Carolina college students were contacted and asked to take place in a vaccine trial for the coronavirus. While pharmaceutical trials are a real procedure done in conjunction with medical facilities, there are currently no trials going on for a coronavirus vaccine. We imagine this may have been another scam designed to steal personal information.

Again, we’d like to remind you that this has been a boom period for scammers. Please don’t let the fears surrounding coronavirus push you into making bad decisions that you’ll regret later.