BBB warns Central Virginians to beware of stimulus check scams

By Heather Michon

 The US Treasury Department has begun sending out a new round of $600 stimulus checks, and the Better Business Bureau of Central Virginia (BBB) is warning residents to beware of scammers using it as an opportunity for fraud and identity theft.

“BBB is getting reports of con artists claiming that you need to either pay for your stimulus check or provide personal information to receive it,” said public affairs director Leslie Blackwell in a recent alert.

Some of these reports say scammers are sending emails and text messages instructing recipients to click a link to “request benefit payments.” This takes those who click on the link to an “application page,” asking personal details under the guise of making sure people are “getting all the payments owed to you.”

“Of course, this ‘application’ is really a way to phish for personal details and opens you up to risk of identity theft,” said Blackwell.

There is also a phone variation of this scheme, where a scammer calls pretending to be from a government agency. The scammer insists you need to “confirm” personal information before you can get your stimulus payment, again opening up the potential for identity theft.

Yet another phone scam involves a promise to get your funds immediately by way of a prepaid debit card, in return for a small “processing fee.”

In reality, the stimulus payment will come from the U.S. Treasury via either direct deposit to your personal checking account or by check sent via the regular mail. No citizen has to confirm any information, click any link, or answer any questions to receive the payment.

To learn more about coronavirus scams and how to avoid them, visit




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