Coronavirus • March 23rd, 2020

Checks from the government might be coming. Scams definitely are.

Adam Cecil

UPDATE (April 15, 2020): Stimulus checks are on their way to millions of Americans. Find out more about how to get your stimulus check and read up on how to avoid new scams.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE:

The Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning to Americans to be on the watch for an increase in scams specifically related to reports of the government sending out COVID-19 relief checks.

As of today, details of any kind of government relief payment are still being worked out. However, there are several things that will remain constant, as per the FTC:

  1. The government will never require that you pay anything upfront in order to receive this money.
  2. The government will never call you to ask for financial information such as a bank account, credit card number, or for your Social Security number.
  3. These checks are not yet reality, and anyone who claims to be able to get you the money now is a scammer.

As we noted above, these checks are not yet reality, but in all likelihood, the government would use payment information that they already have in order to send out money. This includes people who already receive benefits from the government (like folks on Social Security) and people who filed their tax returns this year and last year.

If the government does need information from you, you will likely receive a letter or other communication in the mail. If someone from the IRS calls you, hang up, find the official phone number online, and call them back to confirm it was them.

Received a call from a scammer? Report them to the FTC online.

We’ll be posting more updates on government benefits, potential scams, and how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting retirement right here on Retirable.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get future updates.

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Author

Adam Cecil

Writer, video maker, and podcast producer based in Brooklyn. Previously a staff writer at Policygenius, helping people find the insurance coverage they need. Find out more.