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

Today’s Top Stories


Lisa Garner. Photo credit Draper City....
Mark Jones

Lisa Garner has support of Draper mayor to become next city judge

Draper Mayor Troy Walker is seeking the appointment of Lisa Garner as the city's next judge. The appointment must be approved by the city council on Oct. 4.
1 day ago
Two Murray police cruisers are shown...
Mark Jones

Murray Police warning public to be on lookout for scam

Several reports of a scam have been reported in Murray. According to police, a caller pretends to be from the Murray Police Department and attempts to notify a person of a warrant and insists the person pay the bail amount.
1 day ago
An electronic sign on the campus of the University of Utah was seen displaying pornography today....
Becky Bruce

Slight increase in crime on U of U campus from previous year, report says

There has been a slight increase in crime on campus over the previous year, according to a report released Friday by the University of Utah.
1 day ago
salt lake shooting arrest...
Simone Seikaly

Teen arrested, suspected of aggravated murder in Salt Lake City

The suspect in a fatal shooting on Sept. 10 was arrested in West Jordan after a search warrant pointed to his whereabouts.
1 day ago
pig poop power...
Elizabeth Weiler

Nations largest pig farm exposed, two face criminal charges

ST. GEORGE, Utah — A jury selection is underway after two activists filmed their theft of dying piglets from Utah’s Circle Four Farm in an attempt to save them.  Advocates are calling it a landmark case to establish the “Right to Rescue” animals in distress.  Animal rights activists Paul Darwin Picklesimer and a former Northwestern […]
1 day ago
Taylorsville police have increased presence in the area (FILE PHOTO: KSLNewsRadio)...
Elizabeth Weiler

Attempted kidnapping of a minor near a Taylorsville school

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — Police are investigating an attempted kidnapping case that occurred on Thursday, Sept. 29. just outside Bennion Jr. High School.  According to Taylorsville Police Department, the 11-year-old was walking home from school when she was approached by a man. The suspect, who was on foot, tried to get the girl to go with […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Live Mic: Beware of scammers and their schemes during COVID-19 pandemic