BBB issues scam warning as people begin receiving third stimulus check

The Better Business Bureau is warning Americans of potential scams as people are already starting to see the third round of stimulus checks show up in their bank accounts.

The BBB said people need to watch out for thieves emailing or texting people, claiming to have information about the checks.

Instead, the scammers take your personal information and commit identity theft, says the BBB.

The scammers may also call claiming to be a government agency that you need to pay before they provide your stimulus check.

The BBB wants to remind people that you do not need to pay fees to get this stimulus check or provide personal information.

“These stimulus checks are helping many meet their financial needs during this pandemic. 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 US 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 bottom line is don’t pay money or give out personal information to get these funds,” said John North, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Dayton and the Miami Valley.

The BBB offered several 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 feel as if you have been scammed, you can report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker or ReportFraud.ftc.gov and ic3.gov.

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