Residents should be on high alert in advance of the potential stimulus payment that could be approved Friday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel warned Thursday.
If the U.S. House approves the proposed $2.2 trillion economic rescue plan, the federal government is expected to send one-time payments of at least $1,200 to millions of people across the country.
“Scammers are using the news that the federal government will send one-time payments to millions of people across the country as part of the federal economic relief response to COVID-19 to steal personal information,” Nessel said. “The Michigan Department of Attorney General has already received reports that residents are getting emails from websites appearing to be official demanding that they provide PayPal, bank account or other financial information to receive the $1,200 federal stimulus payment immediately.
“If you receive a text, email or phone call from someone claiming to be from the government with a check for you, do not fall for it,” the attorney general said. “These fake phishing scams will likely ask you for your bank account information and insist $1,000 or more will be deposited directly into your bank account. “
How can you be sure that it is a scam?
Any request for payment. The government is not charging any up-front fees and will not contact you to ask for money.
Any request for personal or financial information. The government will not call you to verify your Social Security, bank or credit card numbers.
Any offers to help you apply for the stimulus payment. There is no application process. The government will pay you directly by check mailed to your home or direct deposit to your bank account.
Any grant offers related to the payment. There is no grant money.
Nessel said to also not open any attachments or links from anyone claiming to be from the government.
“Do not reply. Delete the message right away,” she said.
The most accurate and up-to-date information regarding the federal stimulus payment will be on the IRS website, at www.irs.gov/coronavirus. The Michigan Attorney General’s Office website is also a safe resource: www.michigan.gov/ag.
Here is where you can file a complaint or contact the Consumer Protection team: send mail to Consumer Protection, P.O. Box 30213, Lansing, MI 48909; call 517-335-7599; fax 517-241-3771; or file a complaint online.