MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Imposters are using the pandemic to trick people into giving them money, according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
The BBB reports that impersonators call and act like they work for a government agency like the CDC, law enforcement or social security. Then, they make up a problem and tell you to pay money to fix it.
“They say that your social security number has been associated with a crime, it’s been suspended, or compromised in some way, and you need to pay to get a new social security number and when you pay they ask you to use gift cards because those are untraceable forms of payment,” Tiffany Schultz, Southwest Wisconsin Regional Director of the Better Business Bureau said.
The only time a real government official may call someone directly is if they are contact tracing for COVID-19. The BBB said if that happens, a real employee will only ask you to confirm your personal information.
“That’s a little bit different. They will reach out to you via phone and they will identify themselves, where they’re calling from, however, you [could] get a legitimate contact tracer call saying ‘you may have been exposed to COVID-19,’ but they will never ask for banking information,” Schultz.
Over the last five years, the BBB reports people over the age of 18 have lost more than $450 million to government scams.
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