KSL INVESTIGATES

Gephardt: Avoid Scammers Trying To Steal Stimulus Payments

Mar 12, 2021, 6:00 PM | Updated: 11:47 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – As the latest round of stimulus payments heads out, consumer advocates said Utahns need to be on their guard.

Margaret Woolley Busse, executive director of the Utah Department of Commerce, warned scammers will be using the stimulus payments to try to rip off people.

“Scammers are terrible. But if we know their tactics, they’re pathetic,” she said.

With past stimulus payments, scammers have duped victims into paying a fee to get their payment or hand over personal info.

“If anyone is calling, emailing or texting you, especially if they are asking for personal information or bank account information, that is a red flag. That is a scammer,” Woolley Busse said.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft and imposter scams topped the list of frauds committed in 2020. Fraudsters frequently posed as someone from the government calling about the stimulus.

About one in five complaints to the FTC lost money, according to federal records. The median loss is about $850.

Interestingly, younger people reported losing money to fraud more often than older people in 2020. But when people over 70-years-old do fall for a scam, they tend to lose more money.

For most Americans, nothing needs to be done to claim the stimulus. It’ll show up by direct deposit in your bank account, or a paper check or prepaid debit card will show up in the mail.

As the KSL Investigators have reported over the past year, the way the money is distributed is not always consistent. Some KSL-TV viewers report getting a direct deposit for the first stimulus and a prepaid debit card for the second stimulus.

 Some viewers also report having trashed their prepaid debit cards because they suspected the mailing was junk mail or a scam. 

Gephardt: Confusion Has Some Trashing Their Stimulus Money

Woolley Busse said if you’re reading this story, spread the word because scammers watch the news and are ready to pounce.

“The stimulus money that’s coming out, (scammers) know it’s hitting almost every American, and so this is a prime opportunity for them to line their pockets,” she said.

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Gephardt: Avoid Scammers Trying To Steal Stimulus Payments