Scammers already targeting COVID-19 payments
OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson is warning Washingtonians about scams related to stimulus payments from the federal government to help people get through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The federal government will not ask to confirm your personal or banking details by email, phone or text message, or demand a “processing fee” to obtain or expedite your stimulus payment. Do not click on links in email or text messages relating to the stimulus checks and do not provide your personal information.
“Many Washingtonians are hurting financially as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, and urgently need the relief promised by the federal government,” Ferguson said. “Scammers are seeing this news as well, and will take advantage of the opportunity to try to get your personal information. Don’t fall for it.”
The specific details of when and how the federal government will provide the stimulus payment are not yet available, but generally, the government will use the tax information they have on file from the past two years to either provide the funds via direct deposit, or mail people checks.
Ferguson also warns Washingtonians that it will likely take the Treasury Department several weeks to begin mailing checks. Any checks arriving now, especially those requiring verification, are scams.
If you are contacted by a scammer, do not engage — even to tell them you know it is a scam. Email addresses and phone numbers that are confirmed to be active are more valuable when selling to other scammers.
If you believe you’ve been the victim of a scam, contact local law enforcement.
Report scams to the Federal Trade Commission.