Free COVID-19 Money Offers
If you receive calls, emails, or other communications claiming to be from the Treasury Department and offering COVID-19 related grants or stimulus payments in exchange for personal financial information, or an advance fee, or charge of any kind, including the purchase of gift cards, please do not respond. These are scams.
A grandparent receives a phone call (or sometimes an e-mail) from a ‘grandchild.’ If it is a phone call, it’s often late at night or early in the morning when most people aren’t thinking that clearly. Usually the person claims to be traveling in a foreign country and has gotten into a bad situation, like being arrested for drugs, getting in a car accident, or being mugged, and needs money wired ASAP. The caller also doesn’t want his or her parents notified. Try to contact your grandchild or another family member to determine whether or not the call is legitimate. Never wire money based on a request made over the phone or in an e-mail, especially overseas. Wiring money is like giving cash—once you send it, you can’t get it back.
The victim meets a scammer on a singles or dating website who poses as a person also looking for a relationship online. They chat over the internet and exchange photos. The scammer typically sends photographs of a very good-looking woman or man, depending who their target is. The victim thinks they have developed a relationship and over time falls in love. Eventually the scammer comes up with a story about how he/she has a major problem in their life which requires an outlay of money. The victim, feeling the need to help their new-found love, ends up wiring money over and over again to this person. Once the scammer has achieved their financial goal, they will drop the unsuspecting victim and disappear.