The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a warning that scammers may try to take advantage of checks the government is expected to send to consumers as part of the Coronavirus stimulus package. Although details regarding exactly how and when the government may issue the checks are reportedly still under development, the FTC offers three tips on how to better detect and avoid potential government check scams.
Proposed Coronavirus Stimulus Payments Are Not Yet Being Issued
Although the details about how, when, and how much individuals may receive are still being determined, under the proposed Coronavirus stimulus package Americans could expect to receive two checks from the federal government within the next few months. If approved, the first economic impact payments could start as early as April 6, and the second check could be issued as early as May 18.
Individuals may not have to fill out any forms in order to receive the proposed payments, as long as they filed a tax return the previous year. According to the FTC, the funds may be sent via check or direct deposit.
The FTC Advises Consumers to Watch Out for Government Check Scammers
The FTC believes that fraudsters may already be developing scams relating to proposed government-issued checks in response to the Coronavirus. The FTC reminds consumers that:
- The government will not ask individuals to pay anything in advance in order to receive the funds.
- The government will not call to ask individuals for their Social Security number, bank account, or credit card number.
- Because the proposed government-issued checks are not yet approved, anyone who claims to be able to send the money now is likely a scammer.
More Information from the FTC
For more information, refer to the FTC’s warning regarding Coronavirus-related government check scams. If you believe you have been a victim of a scam, report the incident to the FTC at www.ftc.gov/complaint.