According to this email, which purports to be from American Express, you have been allocated a payment of $5000 as part of the “corona virus aid stimulus bill”.
The email instructs you to click a link to verify your online access so that you can receive the payment. It claims that you must complete the verification process within 48 hours or your payment may be revoked.
However, American Express did not send the email and it is certainly not a legitimate coronavirus stimulus payment notification.
Instead, it is a phishing scam designed to steal your personal and financial information.
If you click on the link, you will first be taken to a bogus notification document hosted on Google Docs. You will then be redirected to a fraudulent website that asks you to complete a supposed verification form. The form requests your name and contact details, your credit card numbers, and other identifying information.
If you complete and submit the fake form, criminals can collect the information you entered and use it to commit credit card fraud and identity theft.
Criminals have been quick to exploit the Coronavirus pandemic to gain new victims. This version is just one of many similar scams that are currently being distributed. If you receive such a message, do not click any links or open any attachments that it contains.
Of course, if you do become eligible for a stimulus or aid payment, you will not be notified via a generic and strangely worded email.
With so much information about COVID-19 currently hitting our inboxes and social media feeds and various governments around the world announcing stimulus or aid packages, it can be easy to get confused or complacent. We all need to be especially vigilant right now.
A screenshot of the scam email:
$5000 has been allocated for you as part of the corona virus aid stimulus bill.
You are to verify your online access to be propagated onto our new servers to receive these benefits.
You have 48 hours to complete the authentication, otherwise your account may be revoked.
Please tap here to proceed.
Note: Late payment fee will be relinquished after a successful verification.
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!