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You might be seeing text messages promising money – maybe the economic impact payments, loans for small businesses, or an offer for money you can get. In fact, I recently saw a WhatsApp text message in Spanish that advertised money for people quarantined at home. If you’ve spotted messages like this, I hope you’ve also deleted them. These text messages going around could lead you to a scam or a hacker, but not to anything helpful.
 
It’s important to remember that scammers will go to any length to make their message seem real. This particular text had the logo of the Executive Office of the President of the U.S. – a typical scammer tactic to make a message look affiliated with the government. It also had a list of people who could supposedly apply for the government grant – basically anyone – and had misspellings and cut off sentences. Now, not all scammers have bad grammar or spelling – but it’s a good tip-off to a scam when you see them. Also, when it comes to economic impact payments and other pandemic recovery help, the government is not reaching out via text, phone, email, or messages to your social media. If you spot one: pretty likely it’s a scam.
 
So, if you get text messages claiming to be related to the government’s help for people affected by the Coronavirus:
  • Do not click on any links.Clicking could expose you to scams, download malware, or get your phone number added to lists that are then sold to other bad actors. 
  • Delete those text messages immediately.
  • If you have questions about the federal government’s economic impact payment, go to irs.gov/coronavirus. 
Report any suspicious text message to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. Your report matters. It helps stop scams and alert people about them. 
 
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12 Comments


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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LYNN
April 27, 2020
Pay pal has a scam also telling you that there have been issues with your account. Go direct to your pay pal account only.
GW2020
April 27, 2020
I get at the minimum of 10 emails daily. I report them as spam to my carrier but they keep coming. Can the FCC not do something about this? Also I'm registered on the Do Not Call List which is a joke because I continue to get solicited calls.
Kathy
April 27, 2020
I got a spam message saying they were from the FBI and sending 15.5 million in an ATM card by DHL!! They said to pay for postage.
ahar
April 27, 2020
My doctor's office has sent a survey to determine how we are handling coronavirus problems or other health problems . There is a link to click to do the survey. Not sure health providers haven't gotten the message.
aircommuter
April 27, 2020
Sounds all pretty normal to me.
Xpatou
April 27, 2020
I’ve been getting email saying it is from Amazon and my account is frozen - won’t be able to order until I contact them. I have gotten several and always send to my provider. Apparently they do nothing
BLee570
April 27, 2020
My phone has been alerting me to a phone number that could be a potential scam. The phoe number is: 855-508-8591. Hope this helps! And listen to your state and federal officials, if not for yourself, but for others around you!
chattypatty
April 27, 2020
I got an email from WellsFargo asking me to click on a link to get additional stimulus pay. I've never had an account with them.
Hannabanana
April 28, 2020
I received 4 different emails that said it was from my anti virus carrier McAfee. It said my coverage was about expire in 2 days. Funny thing is I have coverage until next year. Yes I deleted it.
Davidd , Don'…
July 17, 2020
Still getting tex messages from the number 701 369 0451 ,looking for friendship , Showing bank statements from Texas , $1 million Apparently it,s is from Afghanistan ,looked it up , NOT from the number 701 369 0459,
tnelson
September 04, 2020
What do u do if u click on the link?