FTC warns of virus-related financial scams

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released multiple warnings to help people avoid financial scams related to COVID-19, specifically related to the government providing citizens with checks.

With people losing income due to isolation, the government has been discussing sending Americans checks to aid with financial difficulties. 

As of yet, no official decision has been made regarding this money.

Scammers have already taken advantage of these discussions, and have been hard at work divising schemes to fool people out of what money they have left.

The FTC warns no matter how the government decides to send citizens money, whether it be through check or direct deposit, there are three important things to remember:

• The government will not ask people to pay anything up front to get this money. No fees. No charges. No nothing.

• The government will not call to ask for Social Security numbers, bank accounts, or credit card numbers.

• These reports of checks aren’t yet a reality.

When the government decides if, how and when they are going to send relief money directly to American citizens, they will let the public know. Until then, it is a good idea to be on the look-out for scammers claiming they have the money to send out already.

Some examples of how scammers may contact include:

• Text messages or emails telling the recipient to click the link provided to receive their $1,000

• Text messages or emails saying they are providing free technology (an iPhone 11, for example) to help with work during the outbreak

• Phone calls asking for personal information such as Social Security Number, bank account numbers, login information and more so they may provide the recipient with $1,000

• Fake check scams

Though the FTC cannot guarantee exactly how citizens would receive money from the government, if that is what they decide to do, they can guarantee that any person asking for payment to receive the money is a scammer and should be ignored and reported.

The Federal Trade Commission encourages those who have encountered these scams, and others like it, to report the incident to them at www.ftc.gov/complaint.

 

The Grant Tribune-Sentinel

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