Utahns warned over new social media coronavirus relief scam

Posted at 10:45 AM, Oct 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-23 20:38:36-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Commerce issued a warning to Utahns Friday about a new social media scam, targeting users with COVID-19 aid as bait.

Scammers hack into social media accounts and post an official-looking COVID-19 Relief phone number, tricking people into give their personal details such as credit card and bank information.

“Sadly, devious scammers prey on fear. Pandemic fears are no exception,” said Chris Parker, Executive Director of the Department of Commerce. “Current COVID-19 fears may lead people in need of assistance to stumble into scams instead of support.”

While a number of COVID-related scams have been reported in recent months, the Utah Division of Consumer Protection was alerted to this one by an alert consumer who saw a post that seemed too good to be true on a friend’s Instagram account.

After calling the number, the scammers began asking for financial information.

Division director, Daniel O’Bannon said anytime a consumer is being asked for banking information, they should take it as a ‘big red flag.’

“Assume that it’s a scam, assume that it’s fraudulent and don’t respond,” said O’Bannon. “Really what you need to do is just slow down, be vigilant and realize that you know when something seems fishy, there’s a reason for that… do your homework.”

CLICK HERE for more information on fraud scams in Utah and how to report them.