The Coronavirus pandemic has brought financial hardships to many people including many people renting homes or apartments. In response to this problem, Congress has sent billions of dollars in rental assistance to state agencies to distribute to renters in need. As you can imagine, scammers have also jumped on this bandwagon and are contacting people by emails and text messages posing as various federal agencies and non-profit groups. In these communications, the scammers lure people into providing sensitive personal information, such as your Social Security number, that is used to commit identity theft. The phony emails often carry the logo of federal agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) which is easy to counterfeit.
Some of these scams also ask for a fee to be paid by gift cards or cryptocurrency which is a definite red flag that it is a scam. No governmental agency asks for or takes gift cards or cryptocurrencies as payment.
Trust me, you can’t trust anyone. Whenever you get a text message or an email, you can never be sure as to who is really contacting you. Therefore you should never provide personal information or click on links contained in such text messages or emails unless you have absolutely confirmed that the communication is legitimate. In addition, no federal agency is contacting anyone by text messages or emails in regard to rental assistance so anyone who does so posing as a federal agency is a scammer.
The money authorized by Congress for rental assistance is being distributed by state and local organizations. If you are in need of rental assistance, here is a link to the CFPB’s list of all of the state and local agencies providing rental assistance.
For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.” Scamicide was recently cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.
If you are not a subscriber to Scamicide.com and would like to receive daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is to go to the bottom of the initial page of http://www.scamicide.com and insert your email address where it states “Sign up for this blog.”