Many people are eagerly awaiting their next round of Coronavirus related stimulus payments as provided for in the recently passed American Rescue Plan. Of course, scammers are taking advantage of this and have recently been sending out phishing emails that appear to come from Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Acting Chairwoman, Rebecca Slaughter in which the scammer, posing as Chairwoman Slaughter asks for personal information such as your Social Security number and bank account number in order to purportedly process your payment. This is a scam. The FTC is not involved in the making of Coronavirus stimulus payments to Americans. This is done by the Treasury Department and the IRS. Additionally, neither the FTC nor the Treasury Department or the IRS will initiate contact with you by emails and they will not be asking for personal information from you. The scammers posing as federal officials ask for your personal information in order to use it to make you a victim of identity theft.
Whenever you get an email, you can never be sure who is really sending it and you should be particularly wary if the email either asks you to click on a link or provide personal information. Clicking on tainted links can download dangerous malware such as ransomware or keystroke logging malware that can lead to your being scammed and providing personal information in response to such an email can lead to your becoming a victim of identity theft. Never provide such information or click on a link unless you have absolutely confirmed that the communication is legitimate.
Also, always check the email address of the sender of any email that asks for personal information or requests you to click on a link. Often the email address has nothing to do with the person or agency that the scammer purports to be. Scammers generally use botnets of infected computers to send out their phishing emails. The address that you see sending the email to you may well be the email address of an innocent person whose email account has been hacked and made a part of a botnet.
For information you can trust about your stimulus payment you can use this IRS interactive site. https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments
For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.” Scamicide has been cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.
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