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Avoiding COVID-19 fake stimulus money scams

Posted at 5:30 AM, Aug 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-24 19:59:08-04

TULSA, Okla. — "Warning" screams a headline from the Federal Trade Commission.

Many know the FTC as the government watchdog group protecting people from scammers. But now, some scammers are trying to turn the tables, using the FTC's name to target more victims. They're trying to lure people into thinking there's more COVID-19 stimulus money waiting for them.

Those crooks are telling potential victims hundreds of dollars will be sent to them -- all they have to do is confirm some personal and financial information. A mom from Tulsa, Marcy, said her family has already been ripped off. She wants to remain anonymous for privacy reasons.

"The caller sounded so concerned," she said. "He said the Federal Trade Commission has millions of dollars to help families as COVID cases are once again spreading across the country. My family was supposedly eligible for $1500, and they needed my bank account number to transfer the money. But they emptied the account instead."

The FTC's Colleen Tressler said there are many victims, just like Marcy and her family. "Scammers follow the headlines, they just pivot and follow whatever is new. But the bottom line is they want to separate people from their money and financial information."

As for Marcy's family, if there's a silver lining, it's the fact they only had a hundred dollars in their account when the scammers hit. Now they're closing that account and opening a new one.

And the FTC reminds everyone, the commission does not distribute economic stimulus or relief funds to anyone.

The Federal Trade Commission has more information on dealing with this scam and so many others:

  • If you get an unexpected email, call, or text, IGNORE it.
  • Don't reply, click on a link, or call.
  • Never give your personal or financial information to anyone you don't know or trust.
  • And remember, unless your initiate it, government agencies will never contact you by email, phone, or text.

The FTC also wants you to report those scam contacts. You can do that by going totheir website.

Contact the Problem Solvers:

  • 918-748-1502

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