MEMPHIS, Tenn. — If you’re one of millions who received a stimulus payment, you’re probably glad to share the good news with friends.
But here’s a warning: You might not want to use social media to spread the news because scammers could also be getting the message.
“By putting that information out there, you’re basically telling the crooks, ‘My money’s here, see if you can get it,’” said Nancy Crawford, with the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South.
She says in these uncertain times it’s highly advisable not to use Facebook, or any social media, to share news you’ve received your government stimulus payment.
“That gives the scammers the opportunity to contact you and say, ‘Hey there was a problem with your deposit, we need you to click here and enter your banking information to make sure we got the right account number,’” Crawford said.
Crawford says always check your Facebook privacy settings. Tweak the settings if you need to, so that everything you’re saying doesn’t get broadcast out there to the public.
She says you should never give out your personal information to someone who contacts you through social media, text or by phone. If the government is trying to reach you, they will do it only through the mail.
Crawford says debt collectors may be able to garnish stimulus payments. If you are contacted by someone claiming to be a collector, you have the right to demand a copy of the debt, with the original creditor, sent to you on paper.
“Any scam that you’ve heard of in the past, throw the word COVID-19 or coronavirus into it and now you’ve got a new scam using this pandemic that’s all over the headlines” Crawford said. “The crooks know people are thinking about these payments.”