The Federal Government is on track to pass a $2 trillion stimulus bill—the largest in U.S. history—that will send checks to American households to help counter the economic effects of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
The Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission warned consumers that scammers may try to defraud Americans by claiming they need to pay money as a condition of receiving government relief. Cases are being reported of email phishing attacks as well as messages received via text or social media.
The government will not be communicating directly to you with personal information via a text message or social media. Closely examine any messages you receive in case they are a scam, and ignore or report them if you determine them to be fraudulent. There are three key signs of fraud to look for:
- The federal government won’t ask you to pay anything upfront—such as fees and charges—to get this money. Anyone who says otherwise is a scammer.
- The government will not call to ask for your Social Security number, bank account, or credit card number. Anyone who does is a scammer.
- The checks will soon be distributed but aren’t yet a reality. Anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is a scammer.
We are tracking a number of reports about these kinds of scams (March 26, 2020).