You know the old saying, "If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is." Well, that totally applies to this latest phone scam.

People across the nation are getting phone calls (many from a New York number) claiming that they are qualified for a $1,000 to $14,000 in relief from COVID-19 from the federal government. Sounds great, right? It's's a lie.

These scammers will then tell you there is a processing fee that you have to pay to get your "grant money". This fee is usually $200 - $500 and they will sometimes ask for it in the form of a cash card from someplace like Walmart. You never pay money to get money, that's a sure sign it's a scam. Plus, there are no grants related to the coronavirus for individuals, so that's a sure sign this is a rip-off.

The Federal Communications Commission also issued a warning Friday about scammers who are promoting bogus coronavirus cures, offering fake test kits, sending hoax text messages and generally preying on virus-related fears.

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.)
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