COVID-19 Avoid scams

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed May, 2020

Scammers use the phone, letters, email, and text messages to try to steal your money and personal information.

Scammers can pretend to be anyone even someone from

  • the U.S. government,
  • your utility company,
  • a doctor’s office, healthcare company, or
  • your mortgage or student loan company.

Unemployment Fraud

If someone applied for unemployment benefits using your information, report it to the Department of Unemployment Assistance.

You can report unemployment fraud by:

Learn more about Unemployment Assistance.

I got a stimulus payment card in the mail. Is it a scam?

The IRS sent some people their stimulus payments on a prepaid EIP Card. It is not a scam if the card you got looks like this.  Call 800-240-8100 to activate the card and set up a 4-digit PIN.  It might be a scam if:

  • The card looks different. Or,
  • Someone tells you to call a different number.  

If you need a new card call 800-240-8100. 

Learn more about Stimulus Payments.

Income scams

FTC income scam infograph

Covid-19 scams

There are also scammers that say they can help you get a Covid-19 vaccine or testing kit. 

Covid vaccine scam infograph

They could also be from a fake charity.  Before donating to a Covid-19 charity make sure the charity is legitimate.  Learn more from the Attorney General

Scammers may say you could be arrested, sued, or lose income if you do not give them your personal information like your social security number or money. Never give your personal information, like your social security number, to someone who called you.

To find out if an offer from an existing company is real, call the company and ask.   Use the phone number from a trusted source like a bill, not from the person who called you. 

If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is!   

If you think someone may be trying to scam you report it to the Massachusetts Attorney Generals Office. Learn more about COVID-19 scams from the Federal Communication Commission and the Federal Trade Commission

Find Legal Aid

You may be able to get free legal help from your local legal aid program. Or email a question about your own legal problem to a lawyer.

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