August 18, 2021
Rockford, IL – August 17, 2021 - The Biden Administration may have extended the eviction moratorium through October 3, 2021, but that doesn’t mean scammers have postponed their tricks. “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.”
Con artists often take advantage of the confusion and stress surrounding major events.
With millions in the United States behind on their rent, the moratorium’s end is a
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
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.
Then, report the suspicious calls or messages. Make sure the agency is real. Scammers
often makeup names of agencies and/or grants.
• Do not pay any money for a "free" government grant or program. It is not free if
there is a fee involved. A real government agency will not ask for an advanced
processing fee. Instead, find out if the grant is legitimate by checking grants.gov.
• Advance fees are a concern. Not all businesses promising to help you repair bad
credit are scams, but that's a big red flag if you are asked to pay in advance. In both
the U.S. and Canada, credit repair and debt relief companies can only collect their fee
after performing the promised services.
• Avoid guarantees and unusual payment methods. Genuine lenders never guarantee
a loan in advance. They will check your credit score and other documents before
providing an interest rate and/or loan amount and will not ask you to pay an upfront
fee. Fees are never paid via gift cards, CashApp, or prepaid debit cards. Unusual
payment methods and payments to an individual are a big tip-off.
If you’ve spotted a scam, report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker. Help protect your
community by reporting scams or scam attempts (whether or not you’ve lost money),
to help others to avoid falling victim to scams. Before you do business with companies
– please check BBB.org for ratings and reviews.
BBB of Chicago and Northern Illinois is a nonprofit organization that holds businesses to a higher
standard and connects and educates customers with businesses they can trust. We have served both
local Chicago and Northern Illinois consumers and trustworthy businesses for over 95 years. We help
protect consumers from scams and fraudulent practices in the marketplace and provide an extensive
free database to see business ratings and reviews for research before they buy. Our local BBB is a
part of the IABBB.
The International Association of Better Business Bureaus (IABBB) is the network hub for BBBs in the
US, Canada and Mexico