56ºF

Scammers likely gearing up as federal payouts for coronavirus impacts considered

FTC: Government won’t ask for personal information or make you pay up front

Secret Service Warns about Coronavirus Phishing Scams
Secret Service Warns about Coronavirus Phishing Scams

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Federal Trade Commission is trying to get ahead of scam artists and is sending out a warning -- even before the government finalizes a possible plan to provide payment to individuals impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

While details of possible payments are still being worked out, the FTC says remember these three things:

  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 says the agency would normally wait to know what the payment plan looks like before sending out a warning like this, but these are not normal times, and the FTC predicts scammers are gearing up to take advantage of this.

Bottom line, no matter what the payment winds up being, only scammers will ask you to pay to get it. If you spot one of these scams, you can report it to the FTC here: www.ftc.gov/complaint.