COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Direct deposits and stimulus checks are slowly making their way into your bank accounts and mailboxes.
The latest relief bill, signed into law the last weekend of December.But Jessica Kapcar with the Better Business Bureau said the agency is already getting reports, of scammers figuring out ways to get your cut of the cash.
“People have been getting either emails or text messages saying that they need to provide personal information to receive those funds, that they need to log in to a certain website to fill out the information or the application,” said Kapcar. “This is, unfortunately, just another form of phishing emails and text messages that we see a lot.”
Unfortunately, Kapcar said, those emails and text messages often look legitimate. But one of the ways you can protect yourself from “lookalikes” is to go directly to the source, the official website of the IRS (irs.gov) or your bank, and not clicking a link that’s been sent to you.
“Clicking a link can also upload that malware. So, it may not be immediate, but once the malware is on your computer or your phone… They can kind of track every move that you’re making,” said Kapcar.
It can also open you up to the risk of identity theft.
“It’s your personal information, and once it’s out there, it’s out there.”
Another red flag, according to Kapcar, if someone says you have to pay, in order to get your stimulus payment.
“You should never have to pay money to get money that you are owed or have won.”
Especially if they ask for a payment via gift card, debit card, or wire transfer,
“Once that money’s gone, it’s gone. So, you aren’t able to recoup that.”
If you’ve received one of these calls, emails or text messages, and whether or not you’ve clicked a link or made a payment, Kapcar said to report it to the Better Business Bureau.
They can help you report it to law enforcement, and add your report to their Scam Tracker, so other consumers can see what these scams may look like in their area.