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Watch out for COVID-19 stimulus scams

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The U.S. Government hasn’t sent out stimulus checks to most Americans. But already, scammers are trying to steal your money.

In fact, the Kansas Attorney General’s Office tells KSN News it received hundreds of complaints all surrounding the coronavirus. The latest one includes someone or some people posing as the IRS, or a company promising to get your stimulus money faster. The government will send out your stimulus check the same way they would your tax refund. Typically, that takes three weeks or more. The bad actors will try and contact you by email, over the phone and may even try to text you.

“They’re pretending to be the IRS or some other government actor saying they’ve had a data glitch and they need to reconfirm your routing information, your account number, your social security number, all of those sorts of things, none of that is true,” said Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

If someone contacted you asking for any sensitive information of yours which includes your social security number, your birthday or any banking information, Schmidt says you should file a complaint with the Kansas Attorney General’s Office.

You can also call 800-432-2310 to request a paper complaint form and the office will send you one in the mail. 

If you’d like to know more information on how you can protect yourself if other scams, you can check out the consumer protection website.

And if you’re not sure if you’re getting a stimulus check or how much you’re getting, you can find that information at the IRS website.

BACKGROUND ON THE CORONAVIRUS AID, RELIEF, AND ECONOMIC SECURITY (CARES) ACT

On Friday, President Donald Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2 trillion stimulus package providing emergency assistance to the American people, businesses and health care providers amid the response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The package includes a one-time direct cash payment to individuals and families across the country to help them financially weather this crisis. Unfortunately, the bill’s passage has opened up a brand new opportunity for scammers to take advantage of vulnerable people during an emergency situation.

To be clear, the Internal Revenue Service will not ask you to pay anything up front to get this money. There are no fees or charges associated with receiving the payment. No one from the federal government will call, email or text message you and ask for your Social Security number, bank account information or credit card number. Anyone who does this is a scammer. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said the checks will take about three weeks to be sent out for people who have been working and paying taxes since 2018. Anyone calling and telling you they can get the check to you today is a scammer. Our best advice is to not answer calls, emails or text messages from phone numbers or email addresses you do not know. If you do answer a phone call, once you realize it’s not someone you know, just hang up.

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