Americans are anxiously waiting for another round of stimulus checks. This is evident from the growing support for a change.org petition, which asks for regular stimulus checks. The petition has gotten almost 3 million signatures. Scammers are taking advantage of this wish for a fourth coronavirus stimulus check, and are creating fake sites to steal peoples’ identities.
Information-Security Firm DomainTools has identified more than 50 websites that pose as U.S. government sites attempting to lure people into revealing their personal information. These sites are found to have been created by Nigerian scammers.
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Such websites encourage people, looking for stimulus checks, to upload their identification documents, such as date of birth, phone number, mother's maiden name, home address and more. This information allows scammers to create fake identifies to carry out their nefarious activities.
Some of the fraudulent websites that DomainTools identified are: AmericanReliefPlan.us, ReliefCareFunds.com, AmericanReliefPlan.com and AmericaFundForStimulus.com. You can find the full list of such websites from the DomainTools report.
Further, the security firm found that these fake websites were related to [email protected] This email ID, in turn, was linked to a fake bank in the UK.
Also, the same email ID was related to websites that were reportedly hiring for promotional programs and to a Nigerian technology company, called GoldenWaves Innovations. This company was registered in February of 2016, but its registration is currently inactive, the report says.
Further investigation found that the majority of the domains had a registered email ID of [email protected] As per the security firm, this email ID belongs to an Ibadan, Nigeria based web developer. The same developer is also linked to sales on cybercrime forums, as well as Steam gaming and social platforms.
How Do These Fake Sites Work?
All these websites from the Nigerian scammers claim to be connected to the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. This plan was approved in March this year and promised stimulus checks of up to $1,400 to eligible recipients. Also, the legislation offers monthly child tax credits from July through December.
Many recipients of these benefits have no idea that they don’t need to do anything to receive the stimulus payments. And, this is what scammers are taking advantage of.
"Many relief recipients are unaware that this relief will be automatically assigned to them by the IRS," Chad Anderson, a senior security researcher at DomainTools, says in the report. "Scammers are using this as an opportunity to collect Social Security numbers and driver's license photographs to use in identity theft."
Thus, people are advised to stay away from any sites asking them to reveal their personal information. They must only trust the government websites (ending in "irs.gov") with their personal information.
Moreover, it is important for people to know that most people don’t need to take any action to receive the stimulus checks or the child tax credit.