Scammers take advantage of confusion over extension of moratorium on evictions
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – Con artists are taking advantage of confusion over COVID-19 pandemic as moratorium on evictions is extended.
The Better Business Bureau said that although the Biden administration has extended the moratorium on evictions until October 3, crooks are taking advantage of the confusion.
“These are confusing and stressful times for many Americans, including those in the Midwest,” said Jim Hegarty, CEO of BBB Regional. “The crooks know this and want to take advantage of it. “
According to the BBB, as the moratorium on evictions draws to an end, residents should be on the lookout for con artists who offer loans, sell credit repair services or promote government programs. He said these inconveniences are a way to trick desperate people with hard-earned money that they may not have.
For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the BBB said its Scam Tracker saw various reports of bogus pandemic relief grants or government programs that would provide funds to those affected by the pandemic. Once a resident “qualifies” for the grant, the scammer asks them to pay a processing or delivery fee to obtain the funds. Of course he said the grant doesn’t exist and if a resident pays up front, he just gives money to the crooks.
The BBB said advance loan scams, debt relief, and credit repairs work the same. He said they pledged a loan or repaired the credit for an upfront fee. No matter how necessary it may be, the BBB has said it should not fall into the trap of “secured loans” or impossible services like removing late payments or bankrupting credit reports.
According to the Bureau, the recent Scam Tracker report shows a situation that more people may see as the moratorium on evictions approaches.
A victim told the BBB that she has been desperate for financial help for the past few weeks and is looking for loans despite the refusal. They said they received a call from a loan provider who ultimately accepted their request, with one catch: Before the company could release the money, the victim had to increase their credit rating. Fortunately, the victim said the company had a way to help. They said the company would send money to their account and then the victim would have to send it back, which would increase their score. However, the victim said the crooks never transferred the money and when they “sent it back” they transferred $ 1,000 into the hands of the crooks and overdrawn their account.
According to the BBB, the following tips can help residents protect themselves from similar scams:
- Check any government program before signing up. The BBB said if an organization offers a grant or relief funds, residents should get to know them before agreeing to anything. Take a look at the website and read the reviews. If a scam is suspected, official contact details can be found to call the company and make sure the offer is legitimate.
- Don’t pay money for a government grant or free program. The BBB said it’s not really a grant or a free program if a fee is involved. A real government agency will not charge an early processing fee. Instead, residents should find out if the grant is legitimate by examining grants.gov.
- Upfront fees should be a concern. The BBB said not all companies that promise to help fix bad credit are scams, but if residents are asked to pay up front, that should be a big wake-up call. In the United States, credit repair and debt relief companies can only charge a fee after the service is performed.
- Avoid guarantees and unusual payment methods. The BBB has stated that real lenders never guarantee a loan in advance. They will check credit scores and other documents before providing an interest rate or loan amount and will not ask residents to pay an upfront fee. Fees are never paid through gift cards, CashApp, or prepaid debit cards either. Unusual payment methods and payments to an individual rather than a business are a big tip.
For more information on scams during COVID-19, click HERE.
If you have been the victim of a similar scam, you should report it to BBB Scam Tracker by clicking HERE.
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