COVID-19 scams on the rise as we wait for stimulus checks

While everyone is anticipating to receive their stimulus payment from the government, it shouldn't be the only thing to watch out for. As COVID-19 related scams continue to rise, experts warn to keep your guard up before your personal information falls into the wrong hands.

Criminals are now using the coronavirus pandemic to scam people, but their tactics have remained the same.

Ryan Patrick, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas, said his office is on a mission to put these criminals away.

As the IRS gets ready to send out stimulus checks, scammers are using that to prey on individuals in hopes of obtaining valuable information.

"So, if you receive a phone call from someone claiming they're the IRS, and they need some personal information from you, just hang up the phone. It's going to be a scam," Patrick said.

Scammers can sound rather convincing. They're going to tell you they're from the federal government, pretending to confirm your identity and bank account information.

"The whole point of these scams is to take people's money," Patrick said.

Another red flag to keep an eye out for is if you receive a check in the mail that has an odd dollar amount with cents at the end of it.

"And maybe a letter follows with it saying a portion of this check has been withheld, so please call us to release the rest of the money. That's a scam" Patrick said.

Also watch out for a knock at your door. Criminals have been known to pose as federal agents to gather your personal information.

Don't forget to be on the lookout for texts or emails claiming to get your money faster. Security experts advise to delete them and not to engage. Most importantly, do not click on any links.

Unfortunately, it's the senior community that often fall victim to these crimes. People are advised to talk with elder family members or friends to make sure they're aware of these tactics.

Patrick said if you come across any of these scenarios, to let his offices know.
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