FTC Warns of COVID-19 Scams Related to American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

Coronavirus COVID-19 News

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) “is watching closely and will aggressively go after fraudsters who try to exploit the relief effort” for Americans hurt financially by the COVID-19 pandemic following the enactment of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, according to a statement from FTC Chairwoman Rebecca Kelly Slaughter.

“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,” FTC Chairwoman Slaughter said in the statement. “But we want to remind everyone that scammers always try to take advantage of big headlines to trick people out of their money.”

The FTC – the nation’s consumer protection agency – is “particularly on alert for scams that try to trick people out of their stimulus payments” and is “working hard to guard against pandemic relief fraud,” according to the statement. Specifically, Americans should know the following about COVID-19 relief stimulus payments:

  • 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.

Since 2020, 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.

The FTC works to promote competition and to protect and educate consumers. To learn more about consumer topics and report scams, fraud, and bad business practices online, visit ReportFraud.ftc.gov. To learn more about the FTC, receive consumer alerts, read blogs, subscribe to press releases, and visit www.ftc.gov.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is a deadly respiratory illness that spreads from person to person. As of March 15, 2021, there are more than 119 million global cases and 2.6 million global deaths, while the United States leads the world with more than 29 million cases and 534,000 deaths, according to research from Johns Hopkins University.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – which was named the number one screening firm by HRO Today in 2020 – uses best practices during the COVID-19 crisis, offers a white paper about background checks in the Coronavirus age, and blogs about COVID-19 issues. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.

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