Consumer Alert: COVID-19 Relief Scams

The message claims to get you free money through government relief programs

Posted: Oct 5, 2020 1:24 PM
Updated: Oct 28, 2020 1:59 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - The Better Business Bureau is warning people about a new scam, targeting those looking for relief during the pandemic.

According to the BBB, you'll receive an unsolicited message, whether it be on social media or e-mail. It could be from an unknown sender or someone you know.

The message claims to get you free money through government relief programs. However, you need to provide your personal information and pay upfront fees before receiving the help. Once you provide the information and money, the "consultants" disappear and you're out of money. 

The BBB says this scam is targeting small businesses, claiming to help owners obtain a personal loan from the U.S. Small Business Association.

The BBB recommends the following to protect yourself:

  • Research government aid programs through official channels.
    Visit websites that end in .gov, or .ca, for official information about government aid programs. Also, government agencies will not text, call or message you on social media for information.
  • Never give your personal information to strangers.
    Even if their story is convincing, it's important to never share information with someone, or an organization, you don't know.
  • Get to know a company before doing business with them.
    Research a company and their claims before handing over money. Ask yourself if the company has a good reputation, if they're BBB accredited and their business rating.
  • Beware of promises that sound too good to be true.
    Be skeptical and double check claims before agreeing to pay for services or products.

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