CLEVELAND — After months of debating back and forth, Congress finally passed a new COVID-19 relief bill that will provide stimulus checks to most Americans. But as that money rolls out, scammers are on the prowl to take advantage of you.
"Click here to hurry up your stimulus check. Need help getting your stimulus check? Click on this link. It might be an email. It might be a call. It might be a text. Scammers will use pretty much any tool at their disposal to reach you," explained Sheryl Harris, director of the Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs, as what people might be getting via email, text or phone call.
Harris said it's important for people to know the facts and have correct information. One piece of information Harris wants people to beware of is how the government will get the money to you.
"They're direct deposit. If your bank account or debit card is on file with the IRS, you're going to go right there. You don't have to do anything to get these checks. There's nothing we have to do."
You could also receive your check in the mail, which may arrive later than the direct deposits like the last round of stimulus checks.
Harris also said it's important to keep in mind that the government will never call, text, or email you about the funds.
"Here's a scam we hear a lot, too:- 'There was a glitch with this. There was fraud in your stimulus payment. Click on this link to resolve it.' Or someone will call and pretend to be someone from the IRS. There was a problem or fraud you need to start giving us your social security number and you might have to pay a fine because of fraud. That is not the way the government rolls. It's all paper all the time. You would get letters ,and you'd get so many letters. You would not get calls. You would not get emails. You would not get texts."
Harris said scammers will also rely on the confusion surrounding the amount of the checks to prey on people. The checks will be $600. She also said patience is key as there's no way to get the money faster.
If you fall victim to a scam you can call the Ohio Attorney General's Office to report it at 1-800-282-0515. Or if you're in Cuyahoga County you can call the Scam Squad at 216-443-7035 (SCAM).