CLEVELAND — As if the coronavirus wasn’t bad enough, now people are dealing with a new round of scams thanks to the outbreak. One local man was taken for thousands, and criminals are pouncing on the pandemic.
“I applied online for a personal loan,” said Charles, 35, from Chardon. He didn’t want to use his last name. He doesn’t want his family to know he’s been hack.
“I had researched it. It was a legit company,” said Charles. “So, I said OK I will give them my account information.” The scammer used the real company AmeriCash, but he was never from there. “And so now my account is negative $3,500."
“They have us right where they want us,” said Sue McConnell, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Greater Cleveland.
She told us these kinds of advance loan schemes will grow with the coronavirus.
“Companies that seem to offer you quick cash for an upfront application fee…regardless of your credit history,” she said.
Before moving forward with any loan, check the Ohio Department of Commerce website first about the company.
“If they’re offering loans inside of Ohio, they have to be licensed by the Ohio Department of Commerce,” McConnell said.
Other scams happening a lot more now are fake IRS calls or texts.
“They’re asking you for your direct deposit information on your bank account so that you would be able to get your stimulus check,” said McConnell.
Be leary of any calls that have a caller ID claiming to be from the IRS or Washington, D.C. The good news, however, is that just this week the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced it’s mandating phone companies to use caller ID authentication to combat spoofed robocalls.
Be care about new jobs offering to let you work out of the house.
“Work-at-home scams are going to abound right now because the scammers know many of us have lost our jobs or we’ve had reduced hours,” McConnell told us.
And while this next tip is not a scam, you should still watch out for marketing tactics from some businesses. The BBB got a hold of a check claiming to be part of the “Stimulus Relief Program,” but in reality, it’s from a car dealership offering, in essence, a coupon for a new car purchase.
“They were basically trying to get you to go to their facility and purchase from them,” said McConnell.
As someone who has been scammed recently, Charles doesn’t want you to end up like him.
“Very frustrating because I’m getting late fee charges from companies that I shouldn’t be getting charges for,” he said.