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Be cautious of COVID-19 relief check scams

Updated: Jan. 5, 2021 at 9:56 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The federal government has begun sending out the latest round of COVID-19 relief checks. And consumer advocates are warning of associated scams.

The IRS is sending $600 checks to eligible taxpayers. Online calculators like this one can help you determine how much your family will receive.

If someone promises they can get you more, it’s likely a scam. Kessia Crenshaw with the Alabama attorney general’s consumer division says to be wary of phone calls or emails that claim to be from the IRS.

“The IRS is not going to call you. They would send you a letter,” Crenshaw explained. “We want to remind everyone not give out any money or any personal information to anyone who they don’t know.”

If you get a phone call from an unknown number, experts suggest that you just let the call go to voicemail. If you get a suspicious email, pay close attention to the sender’s address. That’s usually a dead giveaway that it’s not from the person it claims to be.

You can also report suspicious emails to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

And if you fall victim to a scammer, you should report the identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission.

“Everyone is vulnerable due to the pandemic. So we just want everyone to be aware that there are people out there trying to get our money out of desperation,” Crenshaw said.

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