As we publish this post, a second stimulus package has not yet been finalized by Congress. While there’s a lot we don’t know, we DO know a few things about what scammers do when this kind of uncertainty is in the headlines.
If there’s another stimulus payment, you won’t have to pay to get it. Just like last time. Nobody will call to ask for your Social Security, bank account, or credit card number. Expect any stimulus program to look a lot like the first one: people who qualify would get money direct deposited, or you’d get a debit card or check mailed to the address you use for your taxes. The details will follow, if a bill gets signed into law. In the meantime, don’t pay to get any economic impact payment, and keep your info to yourself.
Don’t pay for job “opportunities.” Scammers know that lots of people need to find a job, and they’ll be happy to charge you for what winds up being nothing. Scammers also pay for online ads, promising you ways to earn money online. But do your research before you sign up — and certainly before you pay.
Never pay up front for mortgage help. In fact, it’s illegal for companies to charge you before they help you with your mortgage — but that doesn’t stop scammers from trying. If you find yourself behind on your mortgage, talk with your mortgage servicer right away to see what options you have. And whether you own or rent, it’s worth talking with a legal services organization if you feel like things are taking a hard turn south toward foreclosure or eviction.
They may be able to help you figure out a solution. If you spot one of these scams — or any scam at all, please tell the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
The article above was written by Jennifer Leach, Associate Director, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC, and can be found here.