AG Ferguson warns of scams related to stimulus checks

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Attorney General Bob Ferguson is warning Washington residents to beware of scams related to the upcoming stimulus payments from the federal government.

President Donald Trump signed the $2.2 trillion economic rescue package into law Friday.

The rescue package is expected to support businesses, rush resources to overburdened health care providers and help struggling families during the coronavirus epidemic.

Some 80 percent of U.S. adults are expected to see stimulus checks of up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples. The federal government will also include $500 for each child or dependent.

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With the money expected to be sent out soon, by direct deposit or by check, Ferguson says it’s important to remember that the federal government will not ask to confirm personal or banking details by email, phone or text.

In addition, Ferguson says the federal government will not demand a “processing fee” to obtain or expedite the payment. Ferguson urges Washington residents to not click on links in an email or text message relating to the stimulus checks.

“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.”

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The specific details of when and how the federal government will give the payments are not yet available. However, Ferguson says generally, the government will use the tax information on file from the past two years to provide the money.

Ferguson also says that it will likely take several weeks for the Treasury Department to begin mailing checks.

“Any checks arriving now, especially those requiring verification, are scams,” a spokesperson for Ferguson’s office said in a news release.

Ferguson said anyone who is contacted by a scammer should not engage, even if it is to tell them that you know it’s a scam.

Anyone who thinks they’ve been the victim of a scam is asked to contact local law enforcement. You can also report scams to the Federal Trade Commission.

Information from the Cox Media Group National Content Desk is included in this story