BCSO shares tips to avoid stimulus check scams

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)–Many Floridians are finally seeing their stimulus payments make it into their bank accounts. Scammers are paying close attention, targeting consumers, and stealing their money. The Bay County Sheriff’s office has tips to help keep you and your funds safe.

“Anytime you have money exchanging hands or expected, you have the potential for scams because that’s what they’re out for, they’re out for your money,” said Ruth Corley, the Public Information Officer for the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.

As of last week, the U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS started distributing a second round of stimulus checks.

“You’re going to get your stimulus check based on how you got your IRS refund. If you had it direct deposited, of course it’s gonna be that way. If you get a physical check in the mail, that’s how it’s gonna come to you,” Corley said.

As funds are deposited, scammers shift into high gear and call consumers to ask for personal information.

“Never ever ever give your personal information over the phone or in a text message or even in an email,” Corley said.

The IRS says they will never call someone to demand a payment by gift card, wire transfer, or a pre-paid debit card. If you are contacted, there’s precautions you can take.

“Say I can’t talk right now, give me your contact information so I can call back and I guarantee that they’re just going to hang up,” Corley said.

Scammers typically try to get consumers to act quickly. If it sounds questionable, Corely says it probably is. But the Sheriff’s Office is able to help.

“Call us, run it by one of our fraud investigators who handle these things all day, everyday in various types of frauds and scams,” Corley said.

To track your stimulus payment and to learn about popular scams, head to the IRS’s website, www.irs.gov.

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