Because of COVID-19, unemployment rates are high and many people’s cash flows are low. Scammers view these as ripe conditions to strike. They’ll stop at nothing — not even a pandemic — to trick you into sharing your personal or financial information. That includes pretending to be a government official from the Federal Trade Commission to gain your trust.
We just heard about an email going around from someone claiming to be from the FTC. This scam email says you’ll get money from a COVID-19 “Global Empowerment Fund.” All you need to do, it says, is respond with your bank account information and they’ll transfer the funds. But that’s a scam. There’s no money and there’s no fund. And it’s not from the FTC. If you get a message like this, don’t respond. Instead, report it to the real FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
The FTC will never contact you by phone, email, text message, or social media to ask for your financial information. (Or your Social Security number.) Anyone who does is a scammer, phishing for your information.
If you’re getting an economic stimulus payment, that money will come from the Internal Revenue Service.
If you think you gave your financial information to a scammer, go to IdentityTheft.gov for steps you can take to protect yourself.
To keep up with the latest scams, sign up for the FTC’s consumer alerts.
Information provided by Shameka L. Walker
Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC