- Elder Services
- Scam Alerts
Massachusetts Residents Advised to Protect Public Benefits from Scams
BOSTON – Today the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) issued additional warnings to residents of skimming scams that have impacted some DTA clients. The agency and its investigations team became aware of banks and retailers who appear to have had their ATMs and card processing terminals compromised. These scams are aimed at obtaining credit, debit and Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card information and Personal Identification Numbers (PINs). Skimming is the use of an electronic device to steal card information from a card reader and create a fake card, known as cloning, to steal money or benefits.
As a precaution, DTA strongly recommends that clients change the PIN on their EBT cards at this time and before each scheduled benefit issuance date. Clients do not need to receive a new card to safely access their benefits. The Department has taken several preemptive steps to help protect clients’ benefits, including sending out multiple targeted text messages and creating a notice to inform clients and encourage them to re-PIN their card. The agency also created a webpage on Skimming and how to protect benefits.
Clients who receive TAFDC or EAEDC cash benefits can have their benefits sent to a checking or savings account through direct deposit. Direct deposit is a safe and reliable method to receive benefits and protect against fraud. Residents can contact their case manager if they have a bank account and want to set up direct deposit.
There have also been reports of a phishing scam where individuals are receiving scam text messages that their Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits have been blocked. The message directs individuals to call a number where they are asked to provide their P-EBT card number. This message is not from DTA. DTA only sends text messages from 382-674 and would only direct clients to call the Assistance Line (877-382-2363) or EBT Customer Service Line (800-997-2555).
People should never provide their personal information or EBT/P-EBT card number over the phone to unidentified callers. If any DTA client believes they may have fallen victim to a skimming or phishing scam, they are encouraged to report it to DTA’s fraud hotline at 1-800-372-8399.
WARNING: email from FTC Chair Lina Khan about Coronavirus money is FAKE!
Scammers are impersonating FTC Chair Lina Khan in a new phishing scheme. The email says the FTC wants to send you Coronavirus relief funds and tells you to send some personal information, like your name, address, and date of birth. The FTC is not distributing Coronavirus economic stimulus or relief money to people. The email is a scam. Don’t reply.
If you get an unexpected email that asks you to reply – or call or click a link – to give somebody personal or financial information, don’t. It’s probably a phishing scam trying to steal your money.
Report the phishing email to the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov and forward it to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at email@example.com. (If scammers contact you by text message or phone, report that, too.)
Scammers lie and make up fake stories to rip people off. Learn how to recognize and avoid other phishing scams.
Hot rental car market = scams
The weather is getting warmer, and you might be itching to travel again. The mountains, the beach, and the trails are calling you — and everyone else. At least that’s what it feels like when you start looking into renting a car. With rental car availability at an all-time low, prices are sky high. So, if you suddenly find an available car at a cheap price, you might be dealing with scammers looking to cash in on the rental car shortage.
Scammers are posing as rental car companies, setting up their own websites, and advertising fake customer service phone numbers, all to convince travelers they’re legit. Then, they’re asking people to pre-pay for the rental — with a gift card or prepaid debit card. To avoid rental car scammers driving off with your money:
- Research the rental car company by searching for the name of the company and words like “scam,” “complaint,” or “review” to check if other people have had a bad experience.
- Verify deals with the company directly. If you need customer support, look for contact info on the company’s official website. Don’t use a search engine result. Scammers can pay to place sponsored ads in search results, so they show up at the top or in the sponsored ad section.
- Pay with a credit card if possible, and never pay with a gift card or prepaid debit card. You can dispute credit card charges, but gift cards and prepaid debit cards can disappear like cash. Once you give the number and PIN to a scammer, the money is gone.
Before you rush to book that miraculously available rental car, take a beat and read up about things you should consider when renting a car. If you spot a rental car scam, tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
Avoiding Coronavirus Financial Scams:
Everything You Need to Know
The coronavirus pandemic has found a way to affect our lives in almost every imaginable way. But one often overlooked area is in the realm of financial scams. Unfortunately, some fraudsters have taken advantage of vulnerable people during these times in order to benefit themselves financially.
So in response to these threats, we decided to put together a well-researched and comprehensive resource that sheds light on all of the major types of coronavirus financial scams facing the public.
The infographic below will explain the different forms that the scams occur in and offer you practical advice on how to avoid such scams. And in the unlucky event you find yourself a victim of one of the scams, we’ve provided all of the relevant authorities that you can reach out to in order to get assistance.