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BBB warns of eviction scams after moratorium gets extended

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — The Better Business Bureau is providing warning against scams related to evictions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a new moratorium on evictions that would last until October 3 earlier this month.

Despite the extension, experts say you need to be aware.

“As the eviction moratorium winds down, watch out for scammers offering loans, peddling credit repair services, or promoting government programs,” says Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau. “These cons are a way to trick desperate people out of money they don’t have.”

A BBB Scam Tracker report describes a situation more people will likely encounter as the eviction moratorium nears. A scam victim told the BBB that they had been in a desperate financial situation for a few weeks now, so they had been looking for loans and being denied left and right. The victim received a call from a loan provider, saying their loan application had finally been accepted.

“There was just one catch,” said Horton. “Before the company could release the money, the borrower had to increase their credit score. The company said they had a way to help.”

They would send money to the borrower’s account, and then all they would have to do is send it back, which would boost their credit score. Of course, the scammers never actually transferred the money. When the victim "sent back" the funds, they transferred $1,000 into the hands of scammers and caused their accounts to be overdrawn.

Protect yourself from this scam:

  • Double-check any government program before you sign up. If an organization is offering you a grant or relief funds, get to know them before agreeing to anything. Take a close look at their website and read reviews. If you think you might be dealing with an impostor, find the official contact information and call the company to verify the offer is legitimate.
  • Be wary of out-of-the-blue calls, emails or text messages claiming to be from the government. In general, the government will not contact you using these methods unless you are granted permission.
  • Think something seems suspicious? Reach out to the agency directly. If you doubt that a government representative is legitimate, hang up the phone or stop emailing.

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