Scammers are changing tactics during pandemic

WASHINGTON D.C. – Federal Trade Commission officials are warning people scammers are going into high gear during the COVID-19 pandemic to swindle money out of the unsuspecting.

Scammers are experts at shifting tactics and changing their messages to catch folks off guard.

This is especially true as they try to take advantage of anxieties related to the Coronavirus,” said Cristina Miranda from the Division of Consumer and Business Education for the FTC. “Here’s a quick alert about some current government impostor scams using COVID-19 that are popping up on our radar.”

The Medicare Scam has someone call to offer things like an at-home COVID-19 test kit, Coronavirus package or Medicare benefits related to the virus.

“They’ll ask you to verify personal information like your bank account, Social Security, or Medicare,” said Miranda. ”If you get a call from someone who says they’re a Medicare representative and they ask for this information, hang up. It’s a scam, not Medicare calling.”

Report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

 Another scam is the AnotRelief payment message from Government agencies.

“The FTC is getting a lot of reports about fraudulent calls, texts, and emails coming from people pretending to be from the Social Security Administration, IRS, Census, USCIS and the FDIC,” Miranda said. “These fake government messages might say that you’re approved for money, can get quick relief payments, or get cash grants due to the Coronavirus.”

Scammers might also promise small business loans, or send a (phishing) alert that a check is ready to be picked up. These are all scams, and none of those messages come from a government agency.

If you respond to these calls or messages, they might ask you for money, personal information, or both,” she said. “Don’t give it. And remember that the surest sign of a scam is anyone who asks you to send cash, pay with a gift card, wire money, or pay with cryptocurrency.”

Stay on top of all types of impostor scams by visiting, and sign up for the FTC’s Consumer Alerts to get the latest on all kinds of scams.

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