Skip to main content
Internet Security

Government checks and the coronavirus: Watch out for scams

By Steve Symanovich, a NortonLifeLock employee

March 21, 2020

Cash could help ease some of the financial strain being experienced by many tied to the coronavirus. That’s why the U.S. government has proposed a plan to send money by check or direct deposit to many Americans.

But already the Federal Trade Commission is warning Americans to watch out for scams related to the financial-relief effort.

For instance, scammers might pose as federal employees and try to trick you into providing sensitive personal information such as your Social Security number. The scammers might say — by email, phone call, in person, or by other means — that they need the information to send you money.

What should you do? Don’t provide any information. It’s a scam.

Keep in mind, as of March 20, 2020, the government hasn’t finalized plans for the payments. But the FTC says it’s important to start protecting yourself against scams now.

3 ways to tell it’s a scam

It’s smart to keep these three things in mind, according to an FTC blog post.

  1. The government will not ask you to pay anything up front to get this money. No fees. No charges. No nothing.xs
  2. The government will not call to ask for your Social Security number, bank account, or credit card number. Anyone who does is a scammer.
  3. The reports of government checks aren’t yet a reality. Anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is a scammer.

How to report scams

If you detect a scam or become a victim of one, it’s important to report it. Here’s how.

You can report a scam to the FTC. Visit Your information may help the FTC identify and prosecute scammers. It can also help the agency inform the public about new scams.

To find out more about coronavirus-related scams, go to You can also sign up to get consumer alerts.

Would you know if your Social Security number was being used?

LifeLock identity theft protection sees more threats to your identity, like your personal info on the dark web. And if you become a victim of identity theft, dedicated Identity Restoration Agents will work to fix it.

Start your protection now. It only takes minutes to enroll.

Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. Norton LifeLock offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about cyber safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses.

Start your protection,
enroll in minutes.