Image of Facebook with magnifying glass

Facebook and Instagram users are being targeted by cybercriminals promoting fake grants, particularly grants for COVID-19 relief. Recent grant scams reported to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) include requests for gift cards to “pay the taxes” if the grant is approved.  The messages come from cloned accounts or hacked profiles of one of the user’s real Facebook or Instagram friends.   Anyone receiving a message about a grant via […]

Digital Wallet Safety ID Theft

Digital wallets, an electronic version of payment cards and accounts, and mobile payment apps have become more popular during the global pandemic. U.S. users jumped from 38 percent to 55 percent of smartphone owners in 2020 because they are more convenient and secure for many consumers. They also help serve an important population: the unbanked and underbanked.  It can be difficult for some households (approximately 7.1 million) […]

An Internal Revenue Service (IRS) text scam is circulating to get consumers’ personal information, which may put them at further risk of tax identity crimes.  According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), imposter scams were the top reported fraud in 2020. The FTC had approximately 500,000 reports of the scam, leading to an estimated $1.2 billion in lost funds.   People may receive text […]

By Eva Velasquez, president and CEO, Identity Theft Resource Center  The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) expects to see the number of victims of COVID-19 identity crimes continue to rise in 2021. The ITRC’s new data shows an increase in identity crime victims being targeted multiple times (28 percent in 2019 versus 21 percent in 2018) before pandemic-related identity crimes. The ITRC expects to see victims targeted multiple times continue to rise.  Right […]

2021 tax season filing

One of the first changes in 2020 due to COVID-19 was the delay in the regular income tax filing date. Soon after that, millions of out-of-work Americans began to receive enhanced unemployment benefits and special small business loans. Soon after that, cybercriminals began to steal those benefits. The Department of Labor estimates that unemployment fraud […]

Missing Stimulus check

The IRS and Treasury Department began distributing stimulus payments the last week of 2020. Direct Deposits, paper checks and debit cards will be sent out to some Americans throughout January. No action is required by anyone to receive their stimulus payment.   Some Americans say they are missing their stimulus payment, while others claim their money was deposited […]

Image of covid 19 stimulus payment relief

*Updated as of 1/5/2021 More stimulus payments are on the way. Scammers are aware, too, which means another round of stimulus payment-related scams.   Remember, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will not text, email or call anyone about a stimulus payment. If someone receives an unsolicited message from someone claiming to be with the IRS, it is probably a scam. Consumers should contact the IRS directly to verify before they respond.  Offers that require people to pay to receive a stimulus […]

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns consumers that while a vaccine is closer to distribution, so are COVID-19 vaccine scams.  The FDA fears misleading products could cause Americans to delay or stop appropriate medical treatment, leading to life-threatening harm.  There is also a fear that the COVID-19 vaccine scams could lead to many people having their personally identifiable information (PII) and personal health […]

The 2020 COVID-19 holiday season is upon us. This year, consumers should be on the lookout for job scams, giving scams, grandparent scams and online shopping scams, to name a few.   If anyone comes across an unknown message regarding the COVID-19 holiday season, they should ignore it and go directly back to the source to confirm the message’s legitimacy.  People should take steps to protect their personal […]

Scammers are looking to take advantage of consumers that need money due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic with a credit line scam.  The scam tries to trick consumers with fake phone calls that look like they are from legitimate banks offering credit lines with low interest rates. Ultimately, scammers are looking to steal sensitive personal information or financial […]