While millions are hunkered down in their homes amid fears of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong is cautioning residents to be wary of opportunistic scammers looking to take advantage of the pandemic.
Tong and the Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection said they have seen a recent rise in reports of scam activity surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak. With stimulus checks expected to start being sent out sooner than later, Tong is warning residents to be cautious.
“Unfortunately, in moments like this people are trying to take advantage of their neighbors,” Tong said. “Now that the federal government has passed an economic stimulus package to bring relief to individuals and businesses, it’s important that we remain vigilant of bad actors.”
The statement came after the federal government enacted a $2 trillion economic stimulus package in response to the outbreak.
“Scam artists will use this public health emergency and much-needed relief as a way to profit off of the public’s fears and vulnerabilities,” Tong said. “If you receive a text message, email or phone call from someone claiming to be from the federal government, do not fall for it. Do your research before you click on a link or share information.”
- Earlier story: April Will Be 'Horrible Month' For CT COVID-19 Cases, Lamont Says: New Breakdown Of Cases
"We're urging consumers and families to be aware of scam artists that may be taking advantage of the news about the federal stimulus package," Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle Seagull added. "Remember, the government will never charge you in order for you to receive a check. If you receive an email, call, or text asking you for personal information or money in exchange for your stimulus check, it's a scam."
Tong and Seagull are "urging residents to look out for suspicious emails, text messages or mail that ask residents to claim their potential government stimulus check and ask for personal information."
According to the two, residents should follow these tips to prevent falling victim to a scam artist:
- The federal government will not ask you to pay money upfront to receive a stimulus check. No fees. No charges.
- The federal government will never call to ask for your Social Security number, bank account or credit card number. Anyone who asks for this personal identifying information is a scammer.
- No matter how the payment is disbursed, only a scammer will ask you to pay to receive it.
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