HOUSTON (CW39) – Robo-callers are continuing to capitalize on the coronavirus pandemic! Phone scams relating to the stimulus check have skyrocketed in recent weeks. According to an analysis by call protection app, Hiya, there are more than 13 billion calls per month and the scams have doubled in the last two months. So far in June, calls have reached an all-time high of more than 1.1 million stimulus check scam calls. The analysis also found that Texas is the top state in the entire country for COVID-related phone scams. The Lone Star state accounts for 13% of the more than 1.1 million stimulus check-related scams calls in June 2021. California and Florida both round out the top three.
Top states targeted for stimulus scam calls:
- Texas – 401 – 13%
- California – 259 – 9%
- Florida – 182 – 6%
- Louisiana – 114 – 4%
- Illinois – 100 – 3%
The most popular scams attempt to steal the PII by telling victims they must verify their information to receive a stimulus check. Scammers also request the victim`s bank info to directly deposit the funds that day. Other common tactics include fake companies or government agencies offering loan forgiveness or loan advances if the individual forfeits their stimulus check and fake government agencies claiming an individual’s SSN is no longer active/valid. The most targeted area codes by scammers are in the South and Southwest. That includes Texas, Florida and Arizona.
Top Area Codes Targeted for stimulus scam calls:
- San Antonio (210)
- Dallas (214)
- Fort Worth (817)
- Peoria, Arizona (928)
- Springfield, Missouri (417)
- Atlanta (404)
- Oklahoma City (405)
- Fort Lauderdale, Florida (954)
- Salt Lake City (801)
- Lafayette, Louisiana (337)
Here are some tips Hiya says you should take to lower the risk of scam calls:
- Do not answer or return calls if you do not recognize the number
- Under no condition would anyone from the federal government call asking for bank account details, social security numbers or other personal information.
- Enable your carrier`s call protection service (like AT&T Call Protect) or install a call protection app
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