Live Mic: Beware of scammers and their schemes during COVID-19 pandemic

Apr 14, 2020, 5:03 PM
District Attorney Sim Gill...
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill speaks during a press conference, July 15, 2014. (Michelle Tessier, Deseret News)
(Michelle Tessier, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Beware of scammers and schemes associated with COVID-19.

The CARES Act is now paying out up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child to millions of American households. Congress passed the $2.2 trillion package and then President Donald Trump signed it.

Chances are if you recently and suddenly lost your job, you’ve been waiting for that check from the IRS. And neither can the fraudsters and scammers who would prey on people in this position.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill joined Lee Lonsberry on Live Mic, with information for listeners about how these scammers operate, and how to avoid them.

Scammers will use text, email, and social media

“People may be getting texted, getting emails or social media posts reaching out to you trying to ask you to sign up to receive your check and then thereby giving Social Security numbers or bank or PayPal account information,” Gill said.

Also, he warned, scammers will say your check is ready for you, you just have to verify your personal and financial information in order to receive a check.

Scammers will emphasize the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” But the official term used by the IRS is “economic impact payment.” The IRS will not call and ask you to verify your payment details.

Fraudsters may contact you through email or fake social media post to say they’re trying to speed up delivery of your check, Gill said. It’s a scam.

“No government official is ever going to call you and ask for your personal information in order to receive these checks. And you should be on the lookout for that,” he said.

Your bank is also not going to call you and ask for your personal financial information.

When you do get these scam calls, hang up, Gill advised. Reach out to local law enforcement, the FBI or report the call to the IRS.

Utahns are generous

“In Utah, we’re a very generous people, very community-oriented people and we’re very caring,” Gill said. “And we want to help those in need. So be on the lookout for false charities that are being set up during this pandemic trying to gather your personal information.”

If you decide to donate, check out charities to make sure they are what they say they are, Gill cautioned.

Gil added beware of claims of remedies or cures for coronavirus because they can be dangerous.

With an extreme slowdown in the economy and unemployment claims skyrocketing, scammers are reaching out and asking for upfront money in order to help find you a job.

Seniors beware

“If it sounds like grandma is being scammed, where do you reach out to report suspected fraud?” Lee asked.

Because the elderly are self-isolating and have lost some level of connection with family and friends, they are much more likely to be exploited during this time, said Gill.

“When you get these solicitations, they may look official. There may be just a slight variation, and they may ask you to click on it. And that’s a phishing scam. The moment you click on, you may be turning over private information and giving them access to your computer,” the district attorney warned.

For more information on how scammers are trying to fool consumers, contact the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office here.

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

State of Utah:

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line 18004567707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Crime, Police + Courts

Salt Lake City Police say three sticks of dynamite were safely removed from a house this week by it...
Mark Jones

Three sticks of dynamite removed from Salt Lake City home

Three sticks of dynamite were removed from a Salt Lake City home on Wednesday, the SLCPD announced. The dynamite have been seized for investigation.
20 hours ago
Britt Johnson

Utah County men facing charges for defrauding the United States

The claims state that Zachary Bassett and Mason Warr used a fraudulent tax scheme to receive COVID-19-related relief funds.
20 hours ago
Rep. Kera Birkeland, R-Morgan, sponsor of HB297 Victim Services Amendments, poses for a portrait at...
Katie McKellar, Deseret News

A Utah lawmaker and her sister at odds: Should rape victims need to contact police before getting an abortion?

Rep. Kera Birkeland says her bill focuses on rape victim services and holding rapists accountable. But her sister, a rape survivor, says it strips away choices.
20 hours ago
On Jan. 31, 2023, a missing Arizona girl was found and rescued from the basement of a registered se...
Elizabeth Weiler

Missing girl from Arizona found in West Valley basement

On Jan. 31, 2023, a missing Arizona girl was found and rescued from the basement of a registered sex offender. 
20 hours ago
Police arrested a man in Washington County on suspicion of human trafficking a child on Thursday. ...
Hugo Rikard-Bell, Mark Jackson, Adam Small

UHP arrests man suspected of trafficking New England teen

Court documents show that the UHP pulled over Tevon Jarrell Cullors-Tillman after his car was spotted driving erratically.
20 hours ago
A federal law that prohibits people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing...
Tierney Sneed, CNN

Court says gun law targeting domestic violence suspects is unconstitutional

 (CNN) — A federal law that prohibits people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms is unconstitutional, a conservative-leaning appeals court ruled Thursday. The ruling is the latest significant decision dismantling a gun restriction in the wake of the Supreme Court’s expansion of Second Amendment rights last year in the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Live Mic: Beware of scammers and their schemes during COVID-19 pandemic