Millions of Americans are in the process of getting their stimulus checks related to the coronavirus pandemic. But the virus isn’t the only menace out there. You need to be on the lookout for scammers, as well.
Criminals are trying to get their hands on your stimulus check and they’re increasingly using spam calls to do it, according to Hiya, the caller ID and robocall blocking service.
Report: Spam Calls Related to Stimulus Money Skyrocket
In the past 30 days, there’s been more than an 850% increase in spam calls related to the stimulus checks, a new Hiya report says.
The scam call protection service based its report on data obtained by analyzing more than 13 billion calls per month. Here are some key findings from the report:
- Crooks asking for bank information to send stimulus checks via direct deposit is the most popular scam
- The second most frequent scam call asks for other sensitive information for same-day deposit
Hiya was able to compile geographical information to show the hardest-hit cities when it comes to stimulus spam calls. Here are the 10 most-affected area codes:
Top 10 Most Affected Area Codes for Stimulus Money Spam Calls
|Rank||Metropolitan Area||Area Code|
|7||Charleston, West Virginia||304|
Hiya says it began seeing COVID-19-related scams in late January. Other spam calls that they’ve noted increasing in number involve those related to health insurance, home sanitation services and more.
How Clark Avoids Spam Calls
Money expert Clark Howard says he has a hard and fast rule when it comes to avoiding spam calls.
“Consider following my rule,” he says. “It’s a simple rule: If I don’t recognize the number as being from someone I know, I do not answer the call.”
Here’s why the rule works: Any reputable business or agency will leave a message if they want to get in touch with you.
If they identify themselves and leave sufficient call back information, you can simply call the number back and handle the intended business.