Craig Police Department warns of COVID-19 scams
With much of the country and the economy facing troubling times due to the coronavirus, scammers are trying to take advantage of vulnerable people.
The Craig Police Department is warning residents to not fall for scams that have surfaced in recent days following the signing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act by President Trump.
The CARES act provides payments to individuals, funds unemployment benefits, and provides financial relief for small businesses, in addition to several other provisions. According to the bill, every tax-paying American with a gross income of up to $75,000 (individual) and $150,000 (married) will receive a check for approximately $1,200 (individual) or $2,400 (married), plus $500 per dependent child.
Officials are expecting distribution to begin in April, mostly for individuals who have direct deposit through the Internal Revenue Service. All other qualified recipients will receive paper checks in the mail. As of this date, the IRS has not specified a distribution date for stimulus funds.
Given the increase in fraud since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, there are growing concerns about paper check theft, online scams, and fraudulent checks, Craig Police Department Captain Bill Leonard said.
Fraudulent calls asking for personal information in exchange for larger stimulus checks or faster processing are already being reported. Delivery of fraudulent stimulus checks with odd monetary values, or that require verification online, have also been reported. These tactics are similar to those used with previous government stimulus packages that benefited individuals.
Local law enforcement reminds residents of the following:
- Do not provide bank account information or other financial information such as social security numbers by phone, text or email. Government agencies such as the IRS will not contact you to obtain bank account or other personal information by phone, text or email. If you filed your taxes, they already have the information on where to send your check or direct deposit.
- Requests for funds to cover fees involved to obtain stimulus funds are scams.
- Any unsolicited phone calls, emails or mail requesting bank information to return funds is a scam.
- Any unsolicited checks attached to jobs you did not apply for are scams.
- Threats of arrest for some type of charges- unless immediate payments are made over the phone are scams.
- If you believe you have been contacted with a scam, do not follow the instructions outlined by the caller, email or mail and contact local law enforcement. If it sounds suspicious hang up and, do not take any further action prior to contacting law enforcement.
- Residents should also be warned about theft relating to mail service. Please check and remove mail from mail collection boxes in a timely manner and watch for suspicious activity around the boxes.
Additionally, pleas be aware of an increase in fraudulent charity organizations soliciting funds for COVID-19 relief. If it appears suspicious, check on the validity of the charity.
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The city of Craig in January settled a lawsuit alleging excessive force against two officers over a 2018 tasing incident, the second civil rights complaint of its type filed against police force members since July.