WINTHROP — Town Manager Austin Faison and Police Chief Terence Delehanty are warning residents to be wary of potential scams tied to financial relief due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and are offering tips to help citizens stay safe and avoid scams during this holiday season.
Residents who receive unsolicited letters regarding low interest rates and loans, offers of financial relief or checks should avoid responding via mail or calling phone numbers listed.
Town officials warn that residents should NEVER give personal information or money to organizations they do not recognize. If a loan package is mailed to you, you should not accept it. Return the letter to the sender and alert the Winthrop Police Department immediately.
“Unfortunately, as we continue to deal with the financial repercussions of COVID-19, scams are being tailored to residents who may be in need of financial support,” Delehanty said. “We want residents to be aware of these potential scams and ensure that they are protecting themselves from being targeted.”
The town of Winthrop warned its residents about possible scams in April related to the coronavirus, but older scams focused on testing, while newer scams are vaccine-related and stimulus-related.
The United States Federal Trade Commission provides these four tips for consumers receiving stimulus payments or financial compensation during the coronavirus pandemic:
- Only use irs.gov/coronavirus to submit information to the IRS – and never in response to a call, text, or email.
- The IRS won’t contact you by phone, email, text message, or social media with information about your stimulus payment, or to ask you for your Social Security number, bank account, or government benefits debit card account number. Anyone who does is a scammer phishing for your information.
- You don’t have to pay to get your stimulus money.
- The IRS won’t tell you to deposit your stimulus check then send them money back because they paid you more than they owed you. That’s a fake check scam.
If anyone has questions or feels like they have been victimized, they are encouraged to call the Winthrop Police Department at 617-846-1212.
Massachusetts residents who believe they are victims of fraud or other criminal activity related to the pandemic should contact the United States Attorney’s Office at USAMA.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-888-221-6023 and leave a message. Members of the public can also contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) by visiting www.IC3.gov.