The U.S. Government might be sending money to its citizens. Here’s why that’s great for scammers.
With COVID-19 spreading rapidly across the world, it’s causing financial strain on many. There are reports that the US Government will possibly be sending money by check or direct deposit to American citizens. This would provide relief to many across America. However, it’s important to understand how scammers are getting ready to take advantage of this.
The FTC announced on Wednesday that amidst these reports, scammers are gearing up for a field day. Here are some very important things to know, no matter how the details of this money are worked out.
3 Things to know about receiving money from the government
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 this is a scammer.
3. These reports of checks aren’t a reality yet. Anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is a scammer.
The FTC went on to say:
“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.”
Assume that scammers are gearing up to take advantage of this. It is a perfect storm for scammers right now, with the uncertainty, fear, health and financial strain, etc. that we’re going through right now.
If you are asked to pay a fee to receive this money, it’s a scam. Plain and simple.
If you receive a request of this nature, either to pay a fee or provide personal information, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint
Avoiding COVID-19 Phishing Scams
In addition to these money-related scams, hackers are using the coronavirus as a means to invoke fear and surprise, deploying thousands of phishing emails and misinformation campaigns.
While it’s ever important to stay informed, be cautious before you click on any link in an email, and look for additional, trusted sources on any information.
Especially when working remotely, try to make a habit of simply sitting back and taking a breath after reading every email. Say to yourself:
“Is this a normal thing to receive?”
“Does this seem too good (or bad) to be true?”
That small moment of a second thought can be the moment that saves you from a heap of trouble.
Stay safe out there, folks.