Don't fall for these coronavirus scams
State police are urging Pennsylvania residents to remain vigilant against scammers attempting to take advantage of the upcoming stimulus disbursement and other programs associated with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
Below are some examples of the scams that are circulating, state police said in a news release on Wednesday:
- Emails claiming to be from United States government agencies asking for personal identifying information so the victim will receive their deposit. These emails may have poor grammar and spelling, and links that may contain malware that, once installed on the victim’s computer, steal information.
- Texts, robocalls or messages on other platforms containing links directing victims to a website that prompts them to enter their personal information, such as bank account information, usernames, passwords and email addresses.
- Callers who claim to have information on “secret” government programs or who offer to help with applications in exchange for your personal information and a fee.
State police offer the following recommendations for protection:
- Do not give banking or other personal information to anyone who requests it to make a “stimulus payment.” The federal government is utilizing banking information it already has on file from previous years’ tax returns, so you will probably not have to take any action. If you need to add or update banking information, the Internal Revenue Service is working on creating a web portal. The IRS will make an official announcement when the portal is open.
- Do not give money or personal information to anyone claiming to have information about government programs. If you have a question about a government program or need help with the application process, contact the agency that administers that program. They will assist you or direct you to an appropriate organization that can provide assistance.
- Make sure your computer has the latest updates, and ensure it has an antivirus program. Delete any email from people you do not recognize or has attachments you are not expecting.
State police said residents who fall victim to a scam should report it to their local police department.
— Ron Musselman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at @ronmusselman8.