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Get an email about COVID stimulus from the FTC chair? It's a scam

A new phishing attack promises coronavirus stimulus from the FTC in exchange for your personal info. Don't fall for it.

cash with magnifying glass
Sarah Tew/CNET

Scammers are impersonating Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan and seeking your personal information in a new email phishing scheme, the FTC warned in a notice posted Thursday.

"The email says the FTC wants to send you Coronavirus relief funds and tells you to send some personal information, like your name, address, and date of birth," the notice reads. "The FTC is not distributing Coronavirus economic stimulus or relief money to people. The email is a scam. Don't reply."

Phishing attacks like this try to trick you into visiting a malicious website or handing over your personal information. To spot them, scrutinize your emails before clicking any links or sharing any information about yourself. Strange formatting and oddly spelled email addresses, like Microsft.net, can be dead giveaways that something is off, and you should always be skeptical when unknown senders convey a sense of urgency; they may be trying to get you to act without thinking.

The fake FTC email is just the latest in a steady and somewhat predictable stream of coronavirus scams. In January, phishing texts and emails began circulating that tried to get people to hand over their personal info by promising access to the COVID-19 vaccine. In April, the FTC warned of scammers who sought to defraud the families of COVID-19 victims by posing as Federal Emergency Management Agency authorities offering to help cover funeral expenses.

If you see the message or any others like it in your inbox, you can report to the FTC by emailing reportphishing@apwg.org.