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Consumer advocates, prosecutors warn of sophisticated stimulus check scams

Bad actors using links and texts to trick people
Posted at 2:59 PM, May 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 07:26:32-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- Consumer advocates and prosecutors are warning of stimulus check scams run by sophisticated con artists using the pandemic to steal stimulus money and personal information.

According to the Florida Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau, scammers are using are using texts, email phishing schemes and fake checks to trick people out of money or bank account information.

In one case, the AG’s Office reported a Tampa advertiser mailed out 35,000 fake stimulus checks to lure Floridians to an automotive tent sale.

Here's what you need to know:

  • The IRS will not contact you to ask for your personal information when it comes to your stimulus check;
  • Hang up on anyone calling about stimulus payments;
  • Delete all links, emails or texts related to the checks;
  • And ignore any social media messages about stimulus payments.

Also, the stimulus checks are officially called economic impact payments, so any email or text that refers to the money as “stimulus checks” is likely a rip off.

Consumers can report any bogus messages to the Federal Trade Commission, so the agency can track it and warn others: