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Coronavirus $1,200 stimulus checks are new target of scams

Do not give out your PayPal account information, Social Security number, bank account number or anything else if someone claims such information is essential to sign you up for a stimulus check relating to the coronavirus pandemic. 

It’s not. It’s a scam. 

It’s time to warn consumers once again that we need to practice some social distancing from the scammers. 

The FBI, state attorneys general and other agencies are alerting Americans that phone calls, texts or emails asking for personal or financial information to get the $1,200 federal payment are not legit.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Thursday issued what she called “an urgent consumer alert” relating to scammers who play up federal stimulus checks. In other states, the Better Business Bureau has reported that the level of “stimulus scams” has gone through the roof. 

The real stimulus cash is likely to hit bank accounts within the next three weeks or later, but taxpayers don’t have to sign up to get the money. Checks are expected to take longer. And yes, some people could experience delays. 

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It’s estimated that as many as 150 million U.S. households would be eligible to receive full or partial payments, according to the Tax Policy Center. 

According to Nessel’s alert, consumers are already reporting that they’ve received phishing emails that include phony websites that look official.

The FBI and top cops in states are warning consumers: Beware of stimulus check scammers

The scammers are demanding that potential victims provide PayPal, bank account or other financial information to get a much-talked-about stimulus check that is part of the federal economic-relief package. 

Anyone who receives such texts or emails should ignore them or delete them. Never click on links because you might download malware onto your computer.

In some cases, fake phishing scams might ask for a person’s bank account information and insist $1,000 or more will be deposited directly into his or her bank account. Again, it’s a scam.

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