CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Salt Lake County DA warning people of COVID-19 stimulus scams

Apr 9, 2020, 6:40 PM
Social media scam -- a person types a card number into a laptop...
Scammers are trying to extort children for money after enticing them to send explicit pictures. (Adobe Stock)
(Adobe Stock)

SALT LAKE COUNTY – Prosecutors are trying to warn everyone about a new crop of COVID-19 stimulus scams popping up all over the country.  They’re hoping to keep Utahns from falling victim like people in other states have.

Investigators say a lot of people still have many questions about when they’ll get their money from the federal government, and how the IRS will get it to them.  Salt Lake County DA Sim Gill says fraudsters are taking advantage of that confusion.

He says, “They’re calling to verify personal financial information to receive a check.  Some are calling to say they can you expedite it by giving them extra money up front.”

According to Gill, there is no way to “speed up” the process of getting your money.  Other scams include…

  • Setting up fake charity websites asking for donations
  • Telling victims they have to “sign up” to get their money
  • Sending fake emails that appear to be from official government sources asking for personal information
  • Mailing bad checks worth more than what people are supposed to get. The victims are asked to cash the check and send the excess back to the scammer

 

“These scams are out there.  They’re targeting different communities.  The minority community gets hit really hard with this,” Gill says.

It’s not that the scams are any different than they were before.  Gill says we’re different because people are far more vulnerable to scams during stressful situations.

“People are worried about infection of the disease.  People are then hit by a loss of a job, economic downturn and rift in their employment,” says Gill.

If you’ve ever received a check from the IRS, or if you’ve filed a tax return, then the federal government already knows how to get your money to you.  Gill says no government agency will ever call you and ask for your personal or banking data.

He says, “Your prize possession is your personal information and your financial information.  Do not share that with strangers.  Do not pass that on to any third party.”

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Salt Lake County DA warning people of COVID-19 stimulus scams