Scammers Attempt To Take Stimulus Money Via Text
SOUTH JORDAN, Utah – A South Jordan woman was told there was a problem with her stimulus payment. After becoming suspicious, she called KSL, and consumer investigator Matt Gephardt got on the case.
Martha Moler was nearly a victim of a fraud aimed at stealing her stimulus check.
She received a text that read, “Please respond for acceptance of your stimulus check,” and it had a link for her to click.
“I started to hit it and I thought, ‘No,’” she said.
The stimulus money is being doled out by the US Treasury Department. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Tom Edwards said they’re seeing a spike in scams during the pandemic.
Many are desperate for their stimulus checks, so being told there’s a problem might cause one to panic or act quickly without thinking. That’s what the crooks are banking on.
“These criminals are ready to step in and take advantage of very vulnerable people who are desperate for money and desperate for help,” he said.
His advice for anyone contacted by a fraudster is to stop contact and notify local law enforcement.
Martha didn’t fall for the flim-flam, but decided to call KSL anyway in the hopes that her story would ensure others do not fall victim.
“It’s humanity at its worst when they start to profit from other people’s pain,” she said.
Officials with the US Treasury Department said that if you filed your taxes with direct deposit, your money will be deposited automatically. If not, you’ll be getting a paper check in a few weeks. You don’t need to respond to any text messages to make that happen.
There is a website were Americans can track their stimulus payment: irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment
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How Do I Prevent It?
The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:
- Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
- Avoid touching your face
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
How To Get Help
If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.
If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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