DON’T FALL PREY TO COVID-19 SCAMMERS

There will always be people out there intent on scamming others out of their money, and the COVID-19 pandemic is no different.

Criminals are already hard at work selling bogus treatments, vaccines and in-home tests for the coronavirus. But they’re also trying to collect the $1,200 stimulus payments coming to most adults.

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama Jay Town said no one is immune from falling for a scam, but there are several things you can do to keep your eyes out and avoid becoming a victim.

“Investigate who is actually soliciting you for personal information or funding,” he said. “Go to their website. Ask what their website is. Every legitimate governmental agency or charity will have a website.”

If you’ve been called out of the blue, don’t give your financial information to the caller. Instead, tell them you will call back. In a lot of cases, a scammer will say they’re from your bank or another legitimate organization. You can call the organization back after you get off the phone, using a phone number available on the bank or organization’s website.

According to the IRS, the federal stimulus checks will be distributed automatically via direct deposit or paper check, depending on the information given to the IRS when you filed your 2018 and 2019 returns.

Stimulus funds should arrive in mid-April. Single taxpayers will be given $1,200, married couples filing jointly will be given $2,400. Any dependent children will add $500 per child to that amount.

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