Sample Scam Text
IRS COVID-19 News:
Click xxx.xxx/IRS-COVID-19 to register/update your information in order to receive the economic impact payment regardless of your status.
Scammers can use links in text messages to install malicious code on your phone or launch a phony webpage to collect personal, health insurance, or financial information for use in other scams. COVID-19 text message scams offer cures, warnings about the need for a test, or “special offers.” Do not click on links in texts related to the virus, and check cdc.gov/coronavirus for the most current information.
Some text scams are impersonating government agencies. The FCC has learned of a text scam claiming to be from the "FCC Financial Care Center" and offering $30,000 in COVID-19 relief. There is no FCC program to provide relief funds to consumers. The text is likely a phishing attempt to get banking or other personal information from its victims.
The Better Business Bureau is warning of a text message scam impersonating the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Recipients are told they must take a "mandatory online COVID-19 test" using a provided link.
Another government imposter text begins with "IRS COVID-19 News" and includes a link and instructions for recipients "to register/update your information in order to receive the economic impact payment regardless of your status." The link points to a website designed to look like the IRS's and requests identifying information, including date of birth, social security number and filing status. Ultimately, it requests a debit or credit card number to "verify your identity."
The FCC has also learned of other bogus consumer offers with coronavirus hooks, such as a text scam offering five months of free Netflix service. If you receive a suspicious text purportedly from Netflix, the company has a webpage with instructions for what to do.
If you think you've been a victim of a coronavirus scam, contact law enforcement immediately.
The FCC offers the following tips to help you protect yourself from scams, including coronavirus scams:
- Do not respond to calls or texts from unknown numbers, or any others that appear suspicious.
- Never share your personal or financial information via email, text messages, or over the phone.
- Be cautious if you’re being pressured to share any information or make a payment immediately.
- Scammers often spoof phone numbers to trick you into answering or responding. Remember that government agencies will never call you to ask for personal information or money.
- Do not click any links in a text message. If a friend sends you a text with a suspicious link that seems out of character, call them to make sure they weren't hacked.
- Always check on a charity (for example, by calling or looking at its actual website) before donating. (Learn more about charity scams.)