HOUSTON - The latest COVID-19 relief package is expected to pass Congress in the coming weeks -- and with it more stimulus checks for $1,400. But consumer experts say that relief money has inspired a big influx in new scams.
It comes in the form of phone calls, emails, fake websites, texts, and even fake checks. Texans are getting targeted from every angle by scammers pretending to help you get your stimulus check.
"People are trying to understand: When is my stimulus check coming? Am I qualified for the stimulus check?" said David McClellan, President of Social Catfish, an anti-scam database.
He says the confusion over stimulus checks is being seized by scammers to steal people’s money and identities.
"It’s like a perfect breeding ground for scammers, so scammers have been way more aggressive, and so we started looking and collecting data," said McClellan.
He told FOX 26 he found the new stimulus check scams have unfolded in four ways. Often it’s a robocall from someone pretending to work for the IRS asking for your personal financial information.
The scammers also target consumers through phishing emails and texts telling you to click a link to verify your information.
The scams also come from fake websites. He says any official information about your stimulus check will come from a .gov website.
"They go to a site that looks like an official site, like a government website or a bank account, and they’re asking people to either sign up or log in, and they’re stealing people’s information that way," said McClellan.
He says they’ve also noticed a trend of fake checks being sent out.
Federal Trade Commission data shows a huge spike in "government document or benefit fraud" that began in 2020.
"If you get an email or text from the government saying they need more information regarding your stimulus check, just know that that is a scam, and you don’t want to respond in any way," said Leah Napoliello, with the BBB of Greater Houston.
Napoliello told FOX 26 the BBB has been working to let people know about the stimulus check related scams and that the government already has your info from when you filed taxes.
"The government is not going to be requesting any information from you," said Napoliello.