BBB warns CT residents of all-out blitz by scammers
That didn’t take long.
Hours after the U.S. Senate reached agreement on a $2 trillion bill intended to provide relief to American families impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, the Better Business Bureau warned that scammers are already attempting to dupe people into entering their bank account numbers on mock websites purporting to be gateways to the federal funds.
The scams are being distributed by email, text, telephone and social media posts, according to BBB’s Connecticut office in Cromwell, with websites tricked up to mimic the look of actual government agencies.
Those with social media accounts should not assume an offer in a social media message from a friend is legitimate, BBB warned, noting scammers have the ability to impersonate real people and urged people to cross-check any such solicitations through another channel.
The state Department of Consumer Protection and the office of Attorney General William Tong had warned Connecticut residents as early as mid-February to be wary of schemes pegged to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Better Business Bureau has an online scam tracker at BBB.org/ScamTracker where it collects information about fraudulent schemes, including a “heat map” that as of Thursday listed a few scams related to coronavirus, but otherwise addressed complaints of scams that did not appear linked to the virus.
BBB has an additional page online at BBB.org/Coronavirus offering tips for a range of consumer protection issues during the pandemic, including on the topics of price gouging and charitable donations.
Connecticut residents reported losing nearly $14 million last year to fraudulent schemes, according to the Federal Trade Commission, with identify theft and impostor scams accounting for nearly a third of the total.
Includes prior reporting by Amanda Cuda.
Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-842-2545; @casoulman