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K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

August 11, 2020

Financially Speaking- Coronavirus Scams

Submitted by Susan Fangman

As of August 5, 2020 the Federal Trade Commission has logged almost 154,000 consumer complaints related to COVID-19 and Economic Impact Payment scams. These claims have resulted in $98.37 million in consumer losses so far. Scammers closely follow news headlines and adapt their scheme to meet the times.

Here are a few of the current scams and some tips to keep you from being the next victim:

• Scammers are pretending to be contact tracers. A legitimate contact tracer may get in touch with you by phone, email, text, or may even visit your home to discuss a COVID-19 test that you took or to let you know someone you have been in contact with has tested positive. They may ask your address, health information, and places and people you have visited. They will never ask for money, social security numbers, or personal financial information like bank account numbers. Also know, legitimate contact tracers will not ask for your immigration status.

• With the possibility of a new round of Economic Impact Payments (EIP’s) do not respond to texts, emails, or calls about EIP’s or stimulus checks from the “government.” The IRS will not ask you to verify your social security number or ask for you bank account number. You will never have to pay a fee to receive your payment. These are all scams. Only use the irs.gov/coronavirus website to share information related to your EIP.

• Be leery of ads for COVID testing kits- most advertised kits are not approved by the FDA.

Reporting scammers helps stop them. Kansans can report scams with the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division at www.InYourCornerKansas.org or call 1-800-432-2310 for more information. Reports can also be made to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.