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The FTC Wants You Extra Wary of “Government Check” Scams

Man looking at a letter, trying to determine if it is a scam.
fizkes/Shutterstock

There is very serious talk in the United States government right now of sending a check to every American to help them through the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s what the FTC wants you to know to avoid getting scammed.

For a quick overview of what’s going on with the discussion of the personal economic stimulus checks, check out this USA Today article for a concise overview of what we know so far.

In the meantime the Federal Trade Commission really wants you to listen up to avoid getting fleeced at a time when people are most vulnerable.

In a press release,  issued directly by the Associate Director of the Division of Consumer and Business Education Jennifer Leach, the organization cautions people against the certain arrival of “government check” scammers:

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.

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.

So, remember: no matter what this payment winds up being, only scammers will ask you to pay to get it. If you spot one of these scams, please tell the Federal Trade Commission: www.ftc.gov/complaint. We’re doing our best to stop these scammers in their tracks, and your report will help.

There are a lot of people out there across the board—but especially in industries that depend on travel, hospitality, food service, and other socially-driven economies, as well as the myriad of adjacent industries that support and supply them—who are going to be experiencing a lot of stress and an unbearable amount of economic uncertainty in the coming weeks and months.

While we always hope you like our articles enough to share them with your friends, we would really encourage you to share this information with everyone, especially people in your life that might be the most vulnerable to the allure of the scams that will inevitably come their way.

The last thing anyone needs right now—especially after finding out they won’t be, say, catering events or setting up concert venues for awhile—is to be the victim of identity theft.

Jason Fitzpatrick Jason Fitzpatrick
Jason Fitzpatrick is the Editor in Chief of LifeSavvy. He has over a decade of experience in publishing and has authored thousands of articles at LifeSavvy, Review Geek, How-To Geek, and Lifehacker. Read Full Bio »

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