Beware Of Stimulus Check Scams And Related Hoaxes
There has been significant media coverage surrounding the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) specifically the stimulus payment to individuals and families. There has also been a lot of misinformation reported causing confusion regarding payment amounts, when payments will be distributed and eligibility for payments.
Scammers are using this confusion over the stimulus package to convince potential victims to turn over personally identifying information, account information or pay fees to receive funds.
One scam suggests that you may qualify for a special COVID-19 government grant and that it's necessary to verify your identity to process the request.
Another scam suggests you can get more money from the government or get your stimulus payment faster by sharing personal information and paying a ‘processing fee’.
Look for the following red flags:
- Any request for payment
- There is no up-front payment, fee, or charge of any kind to receive the stimulus payment.
- Any request for personal or financial information
- The government will not call, text or email you to verify or ask for your Social Security number, bank account, or credit card number in order to release the funds.
- Any offers to help you apply for the stimulus payment
- There is absolutely no application process to receive the stimulus payment.
- Any grant offers related to the stimulus payment
- Bad actors may leave messages requesting personal or financial information in exchange for so-called immediate stimulus money through a grant or for confirmation of identity to receive the funding.
In addition, please ignore/delete calls, emails, or other communications claiming to be from the US Treasury Department or other government agency offering COVID-19 related grants or stimulus payments in exchange for personal financial information, or an advance fee, or charge of any kind, including the purchase of gift cards. Do not click on any links contained in messages/emails.
If you come across any suspicious claims, you can report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.