The St. Louis Consumer Fraud Task Force (CFTF) warns area consumers to be wary of scams related to stimulus payments during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The government’s issuance of stimulus packages during COVID-19 has opened the door to scammers who are trying to take advantage of unsuspecting people.
Scammers are attempting to get money and personal identifying information from consumers, using the stimulus packages and the pandemic as a hook.
Task Force members have received hundreds of consumer reports dealing with stimulus scams during the pandemic. A number of imposter scams have surfaced this year related to COVID-19. Many of the fraudsters use COVID-19 as part of their ruse.
A woman from the southwest Missouri town of Flemington reported to Better Business Bureau (BBB) ScamTracker last month that she was offered a “Corona Grant” through a text message. The text said the money didn’t have to be repaid as it was being given to the recipient by the government.
“They said they needed us to put in our full names and check with their database,” the woman said. “I gave my and my husband’s full names, and then they sent back via text a link for me to click on for me to get (the money). They were offering whatever money I needed in order to get the job done. I didn’t tell them how much I needed, but said I was interested in checking into this. I thought about it and realized that it wasn’t a real deal.”
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has received nearly 60,000 COVID-related scam reports with more than $70 million in losses this year. In addition, consumers have reported nearly 18,000 cases of identity theft nationwide in 2020.
Last month, the FTC filed suit in the Eastern District of Louisiana against a marketing firm which allegedly used deceptive advertising with COVID-19 stimulus messaging. The FTC says Traffic Jam Events, LLC, of Kenner, Louisiana, sent mailers labeled as “important COVID-19 stimulus documents” and directed recipients to a “relief headquarters” to “claim stimulus incentives.” The mailers included checks from a “Stimulus Relief Program” account. The “relief headquarters” wound up being a used car lot in Florida that was hosting a sale.
The Task Force says consumers should be aware of several things to protect themselves against stimulus package-related scams:
- Keep track of your payment. Millions of Americans have received their Economic Impact Payments, which have been distributed by direct deposit, check and debit card. Any debit cards will be sent in an envelope with the words “Money Network Cardholder Services” on it. To check on the status of your stimulus payment, check the IRS website. The IRS has produced a video to help consumers with questions about their Economic Impact Payment.
- Ignore any contact attempts. No agency is going to text, email or ask you to click on a link to activate your stimulus card or to receive your money. Unless you initiate the call seeking help, no one will call you about your Economic Impact Payment. If someone texts, emails or calls you about your payment, don’t give them any personal or financial information.
- Monitor your credit. The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows consumers a free copy of their credit report every 12 months. The three major credit reporting companies have agreed to offer free weekly reports through 2021. Reviewing credit reports can help consumers catch signs of identity theft.
- Report the bad actors. You can report stimulus-related scams to BBB ScamTracker, the FTC, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and your state’s attorney general.
The Task Force, formed in October 2002, is a coalition of local, state and federal government agencies and nonprofit business and consumer groups in Missouri and Illinois that work together to protect consumer and donor rights and guard against fraud.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Task Force has met on a monthly basis to share information in an attempt to keep consumers safe.
The group has tackled predatory payday loan offers, tax scams, timeshare fraud, credit repair and foreclosure scams, bogus sweepstakes, internet sweetheart scams, phony grant scams, home remodeling, elder fraud, payment scams and a variety of other issues.
To obtain information, or to report a scam, contact members of the Task Force:
- Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern and Southwest Missouri and Southern Illinois – (888) 996-3887; BBB.org
- Federal Trade Commission – (877) FTC-HELP (382-4357); ftc.gov
- Federal Bureau of Investigations – (314) 589-2500
- Illinois Attorney General – (800) 243-0618; illinoisattorneygeneral.gov
- Illinois Secretary of State – Securities Department – 800-628-7937
- Missouri Attorney General – (800) 392-8222; ago.mo.gov
- St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department – (314) 231-1212; www.slmpd.org
- U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Missouri – (314) 539-2200; www.usdoj.gov/usao/moe
- U.S. Postal Inspection Service – (877) 876-2455; postalinspectors.uspis.gov
- U.S. Secret Service – (314) 539-2238; www.secretservice.gov
Kansans Named the 2020 National Leader in Identity Thefts
Recent statistics on identity theft reveal that identity theft reports doubled in 2020, with Kansas ranking first for the number of reports.
The increase in the number of reported identity theft cases is linked to the pandemic, as the majority of the reported cases concern unemployment benefits. The number of such cases in Kansas was higher than any other state: Over 38,000 Kansans had their identity stolen to submit fraudulent unemployment claims.
According to Amber Shultz, the acting secretary of the Kansas Department of Labor, these false unemployment claims exploded in numbers at the beginning of July – more than 35% of the applications were found to be fraudulent.
The department also stated that the trend was visible across the US and tried to combat it by implementing a three-day hold on claims and verifying each claim before approving it. However, with the number of claims exceeding 1 million, discerning which were legitimate was a challenging task. According to Attorney General Derek Schmidt, this has unfortunately caused a loss of millions of taxpayers’ money.
As the pandemic continues, identity theft is expected to remain a threat, so it is crucial to have some preventive measures set in place, from shredding important papers to setting stronger passwords on personal accounts. Relying on identity theft protection services is another good idea, as these can monitor the web for a specific set of data and keep individuals safe online.
However, for those who fear that their identity has been compromised, the recommended route is to inform the Federal Trade Commission and then place a fraud alert with any of the three credit bureaus. Informing financial institutions should be the next step. If repairing the identity theft damage is too time-consuming, there is the option of hiring one of the credit repair companies to handle the task.
Credit Repair Services Market Research Report, Growth Trends and Competitive Analysis 2021-2027 – Clark County Blog
Based on the Region:
• North America (USA, Canada and Mexico)
• Europe (Germany, France, Great Britain, Russia and Italy)
• Asia Pacific (China, Japan, Korea, India, and Southeast Asia)
• South America (Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, etc.)
• Middle East and Africa (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa)
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The Credit Repair Services market report has been segregated based on various categories such as product type, application, end-user, and region. Each segment is rated based on CAGR, share and growth potential. In the regional analysis, the report highlights the potential region that is expected to create opportunities in the Credit Repair Services market in the coming years. This segmented analysis will surely prove to be a useful tool for readers, stakeholders and market participants to get a complete picture of the Credit Repair Services market and its growth potential in the years to come.
Key Benefits of the Report:
- Global, regional, country, product type, and application market size and their forecast from 2021-2028
- Identification and detailed analysis on key market dynamics, such as drivers, restraints, opportunities, and challenges influencing the growth of the market
- Detailed analysis on industry outlook with market-specific Porter’s Five Forces analysis, PESTLE analysis, and Value Chain, to better understand the market and build expansion strategies
- Identification of key market players and comprehensively analyze their market share and core competencies, detailed financial positions, key products, and unique selling points
- Analysis of key player’s strategic initiatives and competitive developments, such as joint ventures, mergers, and new product launches in the market
- Expert interviews and their insights on market shift, current, and future outlook, and factors impacting vendors short term and long term strategies
- Detailed insights on emerging regions, product types, applications with qualitative and quantitative information and facts
- Identification of the key patents filed in the field of Credit Repair Services
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Some Points from TOC
Chapter 1 Market Overview
Chapter 2 Company Profiles
Chapter 3 Market Competition by Players
Chapter 4 Market Size Segment by Type
Chapter 5 Market Size Segment by Application
Chapter 6 North America by Country, Type, and Application
Chapter 7 Europe by country, type and application
Chapter 8 Asia Pacific by Region, Type, and Application
Chapter 9 South America by Country, Type and Application
Chapter 10 Middle East and Africa by Country, Type, and Application
Chapter 11 Research Findings and Conclusions
Chapter 12 Appendix
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Dustin Aab on the power of working hard to achieve success
The more closely we look around us, the more we get nearer to reality where so many individuals work with a certain grit, commitment and dedication to achieve what their hearts desire.
These individuals are the ones that not only work to attain their set goals in their career but also help others in their journeys. Talking about the sales and consulting business, which is growing each passing day across nations as professionals from various industries aim to get nearer their visions and aspirations in business, we can notice the boom in this niche; thanks to professional entrepreneurs like Dustin Aab.
Based out of California, Dustin Aab is a leading American entrepreneur, who excels in sales and consulting and has been shaping the careers of hundreds of people through his astute skills and knowledge as a true professional in the industry. It was seven years ago that Dustin Aab had started his career in the sales arena and from the past six years owns his sales company, under which he is working with the mission to turn the desires and dreams of professionals into reality through his mentorship and coaching in sales.
Dustin Aab’s sales and consulting business is all about providing the best of the industry products and services that help individuals change their financial status and situation. His life has been full of challenges, but Dustin Aab very early had realized the power of working hard and putting in every possible effort to make a successful career; hence, after working so hard for years, he has been able to create the financial freedom he wanted by becoming an entrepreneur. He hopes to change as many lives as he can in his career and take people nearer to their definition of success. He does sales mentorship and consulting for not just individuals, but companies as well.
Some of the specific services he offers through his company include Real estate, amazon automation, sales training mentorship, credit repair, Instagram growth and branding, life insurance and solar.
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