FTC warns about government check scams

Image by ftc.gov

No details have been released yet about the proposed government checks to help Americans who are struggling during Coronavirus closures, but scammers are already trying to take advantage of those in need.

In a blog published yesterday by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), it’s said that it isn’t known at this time exactly how payment from the government would be sent to Americans. Physical checks and direct deposit payments are mentioned as possibilities, but no payment method has been confirmed.

These FTC warnings are usually able to give helpful background information that corrects misinformation spread by scammers. But without much information to go by, a blunt statement is given that says:

“Look, normally we’d wait to know what the payment plan looks like before we put out a message like this. But these aren’t normal times. And we predict that the scammers are gearing up to take advantage of this.”

Jennifer Leach, Associate Director, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC

So because this scam could be attempted in a number of ways, the FTC provides these three important general warnings:

  1. “The government will not ask you to pay anything up front to get this money. No fees. No charges. No nothing.
  2. The government will not call to ask for your Social Security number, bank account, or credit card number. Anyone who does is a scammer.
  3. These reports of checks aren’t yet a reality. Anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is a scammer.”

The FTC asks that if anyone spots this scam, to send complaints here: www.ftc.gov/complaint. Any updates on this, and other Coronavirus-related scams can be found here: www.ftc.gov/coronavirus.

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