Countless citizens fall prey to criminal scammers each year, and for some, it means losing everything they have worked so hard for over their lives. Each week we are working with federal, state, and local authorities to provide useful information to protect our community and help keep our citizens safe from dastardly fiends who want to take advantage of innocent people.
Congress recently passed a bill that will provide citizens with another stimulus check, and unfortunately, criminals will seize this opportunity to scam innocent people out of millions of dollars.
A scammer calls and asks to speak with a person about an important topic or issue related to their stimulus check or tax return. The scammer claims to be either with the I.R.S. or another government entity.
The con-artist then proceeds to tell the victim the government needs more information to process their checks. The scammer asks for the victim’s social security number, date of birth, address, phone number, identification number and bank account information. They use this method of theft to steal the victim’s personal information and money.
If the scammers sense hesitation from the victim, they begin using threatening language. Examples of this are threatening the victim with arrest on fraud charges or seizing personal finances and property if they don’t cooperate.
Here are some vital tips for keeping your identity safe.
• The government will never call, text, email, or contact you on social media to ask for your personal information, such as your Identification Number, Social Security Number, bank account information or credit card number.
• There is no way to get your stimulus check early. Anyone promising to get your cash fast or earlier is a scammer.
• The stimulus check will be rolled out in a specific method designed by the government and does not require payment upfront. At no time should you pay a “down payment” or “processing fee” upfront to receive your stimulus check.
• Go to irs.gov to get official information about stimulus checks.
If you have questions, concerns, or want to report an issue with a scammer, contact the Texas Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-983-9933, The F.B.I. Internet Crime Complaint Center at 1-800-225-5324 or The F.T.C. at reportfraud.ftc.gov. As always, remember your local police and sheriff’s departments are there to help.