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Beware scams with COVID-19 relief payments

SoVaNow.com / April 09, 2020
South Boston Police are warning citizens of the possibility of scams that are related to the federal government sending COVID-19 related Economic Impact Payments. There have been reports concerning scams and the impact relief checks that the federal government will be sending out. Some of these scams involve reports of people receiving calls or texts to verify their personal information so that they can receive their checks.

The federal government will not text you in regards to receiving these stimulus checks. Citizens should assume all unsolicited e-mails, calls or texts regarding IRS and COVID-19 refunds are potentially fraudulent. Citizens are advised not to respond to these and report them to law enforcement.

Also, you should never give out any personal or financial information over the phone, via text or e-mail. Below is some information from the United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Virginia regarding this scam:

» The IRS will deposit your payment into the direct deposit account you previously provided on your tax return (or, in the alternative, send you a paper check).

» The IRS will NOT call and ask you to verify your payment details. Do NOT give your bank account, debit account, or PayPal account information to anyone - even if someone claims it’s necessary to get your check. It’s a scam.

» If you receive a call, do NOT engage with scammers, even if you want to tell them that you know it’s a scam. Just hang up.

» If you receive texts or emails claiming that you can get your money faster by sending personal identifying information or clicking on links, delete these texts and emails. Do NOT click on any links in those texts or emails.

» Reports are swirling about bogus checks. If you receive a “check” in the mail now, it’s a scam. It will take the Treasury a few more weeks to mail out the COVID-19 economic impact payments. If you receive a “check” for an odd amount (especially one with cents), or a check that requires you to verify the check online or by calling a number, it’s a scam.

» Remember, the federal government will not ask you to pay anything up front to get a legitimate benefit. No fees. No charges. Anyone who asks for an up-front payment for a promised benefit is a scammer.

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