BBB offers tips for avoiding stimulus check scams


DAYTON – As you likely already know, the federal government has approved another stimulus check.

As we know with the previous checks that were sent out, these checks and confusion regarding them can be a good opportunity to take advantage of people. Therefore, it’s important to be educated on how to avoid scams regarding stimulus checks, as well as any others that may come in the future.

These scammers may try to contact you by sending you emails or text messages claiming to have information about your stimulus check but instead take your personal information to commit identity theft. Or, these scammers may call claiming to be a government agency that you need to pay before they provide your stimulus check. It’s important to remember you do not have to pay any fees to get this stimulus check or provide any additional personal information to anyone to receive it.

“These stimulus checks are helping many meet their financial needs during this pandemic,” John North, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Dayton and the Miami Valley, said. “But, don’t let your despair make you the perfect victim for a scammer. Know the only way you’re going to receive a stimulus check is either a direct deposit into your bank account or a check from the U.S. Treasury for the amount you’re eligible for. Anything else, any other point of contact, is a scam and you want to steer clear. The bottomline is don’t pay money or give out personal information to get these funds.”

Better Business Bureau offers tips to avoid these scams:

• Do your research and be wary of information that seems too good to be true.

• Be calm if someone claiming to be a government official contacts you. It’s important not to act immediately. These scammers are hoping you’ll act before you fact check.

• Always double check information you see online with official news sources.

• Don’t give your personal information to any sources you don’t trust.

• Be wary of emails claiming to be about your stimulus check, don’t click on any unfamiliar links.

• Check the URL if you’re suspicious of a link. Be sure it ends in .gov if it claims to be a message from the government.

• Don’t respond to unknown calls, emails or texts. If you receive a call from the government, look up the office’s official phone number and use that to return the call.

• Confirm the agency you’re being contacted by actually exists. Scammers can make up names of agencies that sound real but aren’t. You can verify the agency by doing a web search to find more information about it.

If you spot a scam, you can report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others avoid falling victim to scams. You also can report it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov and ic3.gov. You also can check out companies with the BBB by visiting BBB.org or calling 937-222-5825 or 800-776-5301.