Stimulus Checks: FCC Exposes Infuriating New Coronavirus Relief Scam

The Federal Communications Commission shared another example of a scam often used during the coronavirus pandemic to separate people from their hard-earned cash on Wednesday. Scams using the coronavirus pandemic have been an increasing concern for consumers, especially after the first wave of stimulus checks were sent out to American taxpayers this month. The FCC highlighted a phishing scam where con artists try to trick consumers into clicking a link for more information about COVID-19.

On Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission's Twitter account offered a prompt for other agencies to share examples of phishing scams that use the coronavirus pandemic as a way to get someone's personal information. The FCC answered by noting that some scam artists are sending out text messages falsely advertising cures and tests. The links in these messages could be dangerous. Instead, the FCC directed Twitter users to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website for the most up-to-date information.

"Do not click any links in a text message," the FCC further warned. "If a friend sends you a text with a suspicious link that seems out of character, call them to make sure they weren't hacked." The FCC provided a link to its "COVID-19 Consumer Warnings and Safety Tips," which lists more examples of scams and a sample of a hoax text and scam messages.

One particular scam example the agency highlighted told people about the "FCC Financial Care Center," which offered $30,000 in coronavirs aid relief. No such program exists. "The text is likely a phishing attempt to get banking or other personal info from victims," the FCC noted.

Other agencies responded to the FTC's message with tips to avoid scams. For example, the Social Security Administration warned that if you get a letter, text or email asking for your social security number you think is suspicious, you should ignore the message. The SSA will "NEVER threaten you, suspend your [SSN], demand payment from you, require payment by cash, gift card, pre-paid debit card or wire transfer," the administration said.


Back on April 8, the FTC issued advice on ignoring scams as the stimulus checks were issued. While many received their stimulus check through direct deposit, those expecting to see them in the mail have not seen them yet because they have not been sent. They are not expected to be out until early May, so if you receive anything cliaming to be a check now, it is a scam.

The Better Business Bureau has also warned about Facebook scams. Heather Clary with the Better Business Bureau told WKYT no government agency is going to ask for personal information in a Facebook message. If you receive a message like that, it is a scam. Some scam artists may also hack another Facebook user's account to get you to click a link. Again, if it looks suspicious, do not click it.