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Fraudsters Find New Opportunities With Vaccine And Stimulus Scams

With every dark cloud comes a silver lining – or at least that’s how the old and oft-repeated expression goes. Said less often though, no less true, is the inverse corollary: For every silver lining, there is a dark cloud somewhere. A less sunny aphorism, to be sure, but one that is unfortunately applicable this week as two pieces of good news – the circulation of a vaccine for COVID-19 and signs of life in a stimulus deal out of Washington before Congress breaks for the holidays – are spotlighting the dark clouds accompanying them.

Fraudsters, according to PYMNTS data, were already enjoying a banner year in 2020 as the world went online and the forces of fraud rapidly followed. But fraud never sleeps, nor does it take holiday vacations or stop looking for creative ways to turn society’s good news into an opportunity for personal gain. And with stimulus and vaccination developments floating around in the public discourse, there are two new attractive and potentially lucrative targets for schemers looking to go out with a bang in 2020, so to speak.

The “stimulus” scams are already out there, reports NBC News. The IRS and a coalition of state tax agencies and tax industry officials are warning individuals that fraudulent text messages are circulating promising people a way to access their $1,200 direct deposit with a link to “complete the last step to finalize the transaction.” The link then takes the victim to an imitation IRS site that harvests personal and financial details, including consumers’ bank account information.


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