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Scammers already eying the money you’re going to get from the federal stimulus

Mailboxes Two White One Black on Posts-357668_1920Be alert for scams related to the pending federal stimulus package.

While a deal has been negotiated and the bill awaits final votes and the president’s signature, Congress’ economic relief package proposes to send money to individual Americans due to financial distress caused by COVID-19. These one-time payments could range from $1,200 per individual and up to $2,400 for joint taxpayers, depending on income.

Some Americans may receive physical checks in the mailbox rather than by direct deposit. However, scammers are already using the proposed federal stimulus package as an opportunity to prey on consumers.

Fraudsters may leave messages by telephone or social media requesting personal or financial information in exchange for so-called immediate stimulus money through a “grant.” Scammers may ask for other information, including Social Security numbers and confirming identity, to receive their funding. In different variations, scammers promise additional financing beyond the stimulus amount in exchange for a small payment or personal information.

Every day, scammers are finding new ways to impersonate real businesses and agencies and to trick consumers, said Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford.

The Nevada Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection has the following tips and suggestions about government scams:

  • Avoid giving access to your bank account. Only scammers will demand that you provide them with your personal information, such as Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, debit and credit cards, or PINs, in order to receive stimulus funding.
  • Avoid suggestions of paying any amount of money to receive the stimulus payment. There’s no "grant" money. You won’t be asked to pay any money, including a "processing fee," to receive a stimulus check;
  • Check your mailbox frequently to ward off theft.
  • Beware of entering your personal or financial information into phishing websites that appear to look like legitimate government websites.
  • Don’t share personal information with any person or website that asks for it related to the federal stimulus package.

If you think you’ve been a victim of a scam, you can file a complaint with the Attorney General Office’s office in your state or the Federal Trade Commission.


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Carol Cassara

Sigh. Honestly, it's crazy how many scammers there are on the alert for new opportunities to rip us off.

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