COVID-19 Relief / Stimulus Check Scams: 6 Cases & 3 Steps to Stay Safe
All of us have been affected by COVID-19, and many of us are suffering financially as a result. And not too surprisingly, scammers are up to their usual tricks again and have been trying their very best to exploit this. Recently, we’ve seen lots of COVID-19 relief or stimulus check phishing scams designed to steal people’s personal information. Continue reading to learn how these scams work and how you can protect yourself:
How COVID-19 relief/ Stimulus Check scams work
Posing as famous companies or government agencies, scammers send text messages with phishing links prompting people to apply for a COVID-19 relief program or to claim stimulus funds.
If you follow their instructions, you’ll be taken to a fake company or government website, or an online form, where you have to enter personal information, including your home address, social security number, bank details, or even copies of your IDs. Scammers record all this sensitive information and use it for identity theft!
6 cases to be wary of
1. Fake American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
Phishing SMS content:
unemployment benefit alert!!! Apply for $1400 weekly benefit from american rescue now. start your online application today and visit the official american rescue website at https[:]//americanrelief-plan [.] com/
All payments made through the American Rescue Plan will be delivered to families in need automatically. Do not let scammers collect your personal information!
2. Fake Congress unemployment benefit scam
Phishing SMS content:
affected by covid-19? congress has finally agreed to the $900 billion stimulus plan to help americans and businesses to ease of coronavirus pandemic this includes student, business owners, self-employed workers, retired, disabled, independent contractors, and those with a limited work host who are out business or have significantly reduced their services as a direct result of the pandemic. to claim, go to <URL> after your claim, refer to our step-by-step claims process.
3. Fake US Government pandemic stimulus bonus
Phishing SMS content:
- US COVID-19 relief bonus”. This site ask user to provide some sensitive information like SSN, picture of your State ID/Driver’s License/International Passport URL: https [:] //mybenefit4you[ . ]com/9
- Congrats, We are pleased to inform you thatyour information was picked up for COVID-19 Stimulus payment from the Federal Govern-ment by JOE BIDEN You’reEligible to the payment. Kindly follow the linkto complete the form hxxps[:]//mybenefit4you[ .]com/9 When you’ve submitted your details,Bob Jewell from Employment Departmentwill contact you for more details on how youwill receive your money ASAP. Thanks Rita L.Saenz Director Employment Development
Please refer to the IRS and the US government’s websites for legitimate information about COVID-19 stimulus checks for individuals. Don’t fall for fake ads or promotions about it.
4. US Department of State extra stimulus bonus phishing scam
Phishing SMS Content
us department of state extra stimulus: get your covid-19 relief fund of $1,400 per-week for the next 26 weeks. for more details, please visit: https[:]//www.vistaloan [. ]cc/ index.php/covid-relief/
Again, don’t fall for fake ads or promotions about any stimulus bonuses. Please go to the US government’s website for legitimate information about COVID-19 stimulus checks for individuals.
5. Fake Direct Relief International website
Sometimes scammers create fake websites designed to appear to be those of famous organizations. They might look similar to the genuine ones, but these pages are designed to record and steal your personal information.
Double-check the web address! The legitimate URL for Direct Relief International’s website is: https://www.directrelief.org/
6. Charitable pandemic relief stimulus check scam
Phishing SMS content
How are you? This is Kevin Chlan contacting you regarding the Covid Pandemic Relief stimulus check. Are you still interested in the free benefit? If you are I have voluntarily decided to donate the sum of $20,000 USD to you as one of the selected 200, to verify your winnings kindly visit <URL> , when done send a text only to the agent in charge. Here is the number of the Agent.. WILSON SCOTT. Please text only ( +1 304-584-9779 ) just text him for confirmation & delivery of your winning. Thanks
Messages that instruct you to text a specific number or click on an unknown link are highly suspicious. Please treat them with great caution.
3 steps to protect yourself
- Do your homework about the government’s relief/stimulus check plans by visiting the government’s legitimate website here.
- NEVER click links or attachments from unknown sources.
- Install Trend Micro Check for free for bulletproof on-the-go protection against scams. It detects and blocks dangerous websites automatically:
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