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Attorney General warns of stimulus check scams

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Attorney General Hector Balderas on Thursday issued a safety advisory to New Mexicans about scams related to the federal economic stimulus package.

The federal government will soon be sending money by check or direct deposit to most New Mexicans — but anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is likely operating a scam, the AG warned residents in a press release issued Thursday.

“Unfortunately, our current state of emergency creates a ripe environment for scams and people trying to take advantage of vulnerable New Mexicans,” said Balderas. “We must continue to protect and educate families, and my office will prosecute any person who tries to harm them.”

Balderas provided the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of one of these scams:

• Never pay money to get money. Requests for payments to get your stimulus check are a sure sign that you’ve been contacted by a scammer.

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• Protect your financial accounts. Common scams claim you can get your money immediately if you provide credit card information, banking information or other personal information. This claim is not true and the checks are not ready.

• Be patient. Some fraudsters are claiming they will give you an advance for a small fee while you wait for your check. Don’t fall for this. It’s a scam.

• The government is not going to call you. Scammers will also attempt to collect personal information by impersonating a government agency like the IRS. Never provide your personal information to someone you don’t know.

• Protect your identity. Any request to confirm your identity or gather personal information in order to send your stimulus check is a scam. Do not give out your personal information, like birth dates and Social Security numbers, over the phone or online. The government will not ask you for this information via phone or email.

• Do not pay a “fee.” There is no “processing fee” to get your stimulus check.

• Think before you click. Do not click on links sent to you by people you don’t know. In the wake of disasters like the coronavirus outbreak, scammers will often email or text consumers to gather personal information by using phishing scams. Right now the only place consumers should check for information about the stimulus check is the IRS website, www.irs.gov/coronavirus.

Any New Mexican that is suspicious of scamming activity is urged to immediately file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General at www.nmag.gov.

 

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