Likely Uptick in Scams with Stimulus Checks
Published on March 12, 2021
With COVID-19 stimulus checks arriving in bank accounts as early as this weekend, the Weld County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents about an uptick in scam calls that is sure to follow.
This week, deputies took numerous calls about a scam in which criminals are posing as officers with the Social Security Administration. The scam begins with an automated call informing the potential victim their social security number is under suspension.
The message continues by urging the potential victim to contact the Social Security Administration to remedy the situation or else a warrant will be issued for their arrest. The message prompts the potential victim to press 1 to speak with a live officer. Several residents, who recognized the call as a scam but pressed 1 anyway, reported the person on the other end of the line had a thick Indian accent.
The scammer then notifies the potential victim about the bogus suspension and says it can be corrected with the payment of a fine, typically by providing banking information, a credit card number or through the purchase of gift cards.
The Weld County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind residents never to provide personal, identifying information to anyone over the phone. Additionally, anything involving the payment of a fine with gift cards is always a scam.
Furthermore, federal agencies, such as the Social Security Administration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Internal Revenue Service, etc., never conduct business over the phone. If there is a problem, you will always be notified by mail. When in doubt, hang up and call an agency directly to find out of a caller’s claims are legitimate.
Law enforcement agencies don’t accept payment, particularly gift cards, in exchange for the cancellation of a warrant. And in order to win a contest, you must enter it first. Don’t fall for that one either.
Anyone with information regarding these types of crimes is asked to call the Weld County Sheriff’s Office at (970) 356-4015 or Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Tips can also be submitted through the Crime Stoppers website at www.crimeshurt.com. Those submitting tips through Crime Stoppers that lead to the arrest and filing of charges on a suspect(s) may be eligible for a cash reward.