Agency continues aggressive action against COVID-related scams, including those that seek to exploit pandemic relief efforts
Acting Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Rebecca Kelly Slaughter issued the following statement regarding the enactment of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021:
“For the millions of Americans who have taken a financial hit because of COVID-19, help is on the way in the form of much needed stimulus payments. This is great news. But we want to remind everyone that scammers always try to take advantage of big headlines to trick people out of their money.
As the head of the FTC, the nation’s consumer protection agency, I want to assure Americans that the FTC is watching closely and will aggressively go after fraudsters who try to exploit the relief effort. Since the pandemic began last year, the FTC has taken down multiple COVID-related scams, including some that promoted bogus work-from-home schemes or peddled sham COVID treatments and supplements, and others that falsely claimed to provide access to small business coronavirus relief programs or fast delivery of personal protective equipment.
Right now, we are particularly on alert for scams that try to trick people out of their stimulus payments. While we at the FTC are working hard to guard against pandemic relief fraud, we also want to empower people to help protect themselves and their friends and family. Specifically, know that:
- The government will not ask you to pay anything up front to get this money.
- The government will not call, text, email, or message you on social media to ask for your Social Security, bank account, or credit card number. Anyone who does is a scammer.
- Anyone who tells you to pay by a wire transfer, gift card, or cryptocurrency is a scammer, regardless of their story.
- If you spot one of these scams, or any scam, please tell the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. And to learn more about avoiding pandemic-related scams, visit ftc.gov/coronavirus.”
Advice for Consumers
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, stop deceptive and unfair business practices and scams, and educate consumers. Report fraud, scams, or bad business practices at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Get consumer advice at consumer.ftc.gov. Also, follow the FTC on social media, subscribe to press releases, and read the FTC’s blogs.