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Watch out for false promises as eviction moratoriums end

Better Business Bureau

The eviction moratorium was struck down by the Supreme Court, but some state and local governments are still issuing their own eviction policies.

Scammers are ready to take advantage of the confustion and stress that renters may be experiencing. With millions in the United States behind on their rent, the moratorium’s end is a perfect hook.  

How the Scam Works

Watch out for scammers offering loans, peddling credit repair
services, or promoting government programs. These cons are a way to
trick desperate people out of money they don’t have.  

For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, BBB Scam Tracker
has seen numerous reports of phony “pandemic relief” grants or
government programs that allegedly provide funding to people impacted by
the pandemic. Once you “qualify for the grant,” the scammer will ask
you to pay a processing or delivery fee to receive your funds. Of
course, the grant doesn’t exist, and if you pay upfront, you just gave
money to scammers.  

Advance fee loans, debt relief and credit repair scams
work in a similar way. They promise a loan – or to repair your credit –
for an upfront fee. No matter how much you may need it, don’t be
tempted by “guaranteed loans” or impossible services, such as removing
late payments or a bankruptcy, from your credit report.

This recent BBB Scam Tracker report describes a situation more people
will likely encounter as the eviction moratorium nears. “I’d been in a
desperate financial situation for a few weeks now, so I had been looking
for loans and being denied left and right,” the scam victim told BBB.
The victim received a call from a loan provider, saying their loan
application had finally been accepted. There was just one catch: before
the company could release the money, the borrow had to increase their
credit score. Fortunately, this company had a way to help. “The way they
would do that is they would send money to my account and then all I
would have to do is send it back and that would boost my score.” Of
course, the scammers never actually transfered the money. When the
victim “sent back” the funds, they transferred $1,000 into the hands of
scammers and overdrafted their account. 

Protect yourself from this scam:

  1. Double check any government program before you sign up. If
    an organization is offering you a grant or relief funds, get to know
    them before you agree to anything. Take a close look at their website
    and read reviews. If you think you might be dealing with an impostor,
    find the official contact information and call the company to make sure
    the offer is legitimate.
  2. Be wary of out-of-the-blue calls, emails or text message claiming to be from the government. In general, the government will not contact you using these methods, unless you granted permission.
  3. Think something seems suspicious? Reach out to the agency directly. If
    you doubt that a government representative is legitimate, hang up the
    phone or stop emailing. Then, report the suspicious calls or messages.
    Make sure the agency is real. Scammers often make up names of agencies
    and/or grants.
  4. Do not pay any money for a “free” government grant or program. It
    is not really free if there is a fee involved. A real government agency
    will not ask for an advanced processing fee. Instead, find out if the
    grant is legitimate by checking grants.gov.
  5. Advance fees are a concern. Not
    all businesses promising to help you repair bad credit are scams, but
    if you are asked to pay in advance, that’s a big red flag. In both the
    U.S. and Canada, credit repair and debt relief companies can only
    collect their fee after they perform the services promised.
  6. Avoid guarantees and unusual payment methods. Real
    lenders never guarantee a loan in advance. They will check your credit
    score and other documents before providing an interest rate and/or loan
    amount and will not ask you to pay an upfront fee. Fees are never paid
    via gift cards, CashApp, or prepaid debit card. Unusual payment methods
    and payments to an individual are a big tip off.

For more information:

Get further insight by reading BBB’s tip on loans and credit repair services. Learn more about government impostor scams during COVID-19

If you’ve spotted a scam (whether or not you’ve lost money), report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others avoid falling victim to scams. Find more information about scams and how to avoid them BBB.org/AvoidScams.

Source: on 2021-08-31 08:45:00

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