On Monday, state Attorney General Ashley Moody issued a Consumer Alert warning Floridians about a new phishing scam that offers fake COVID-19 relief funds.
Scammers are impersonating Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan in phishing emails, claiming the recipient is eligible for financial relief and requiring personal and financial information in exchange for the nonexistent funds.
“These brazen scammers are impersonating a federal agency charged with investigating and shutting down scams. Floridians need to be on the lookout for these phishing emails and report them to the FTC. We have seen so many new scams during the pandemic, but this latest trick is extremely flagrant. The best way to beat this scam is to immediately send these messages directly to the FTC and be sure to never reply or click on any links in the email,” Moody said.
The FTC is not sending out any COVID-19 stimulus or relief money. You can report this scam to the FTC by visiting the agency’s Report Fraud website or emailing the Anti-Phishing Working Group at ReportPhishing@apwg.org.
Imposter scams can come in many different forms: emails, phone calls, text messages and other direct communications. To avoid falling victim to imposter scams, follow these tips:
Do not automatically trust the number listed on caller ID, an email address or a stamp on a piece of mail;
Avoid clicking on any suspicious links in messages;
To reach out to a company or government agency, look up the phone number listed online rather than the number provided in the email; and
Never give out personal or financial information in response to a solicitation.
Phishing scams occurring in Florida can be reported to the Attorney General’s Office by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or filing a complaint online at MyFloridaLegal.com.