Residents in East Texas have called the Tyler Morning Telegraph to let us know they received a scam call concerning the new stimulus checks. A telemarketer is asking for bank account information to send the check from the government.

This is not true.

As a story on our website, tylerpaper.com, and on the front page of Saturday’s edition explains, the money will come into an account you already have on file when you did your taxes.

Federal authorities say finding and prosecuting those who exploit fears about the coronavirus to defraud others is a top priority.

“The public needs to be careful during the coming weeks to not fall victim to criminals who will try to take advantage of this health crisis,” Joseph Brown, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, said in a news release. “The Justice Department has made it a priority to stop scams and frauds, and we will move aggressively against anyone who does that.”

The news release said scammers are asking people to send money for a coronavirus medicine or cure, needed household and medical supplies, new investment opportunities, charity organizations that don’t exist or to pay a medical bill of someone receiving treatment for the virus.

Scammers are also using malware to steal personal information by claiming to be from a health organization.

The government also is on the lookout for price gouging of goods like hand sanitizers.

To guard against becoming a victim, the news release advises people not to give personal information, be suspicious of requests for money and not to click on links of suspicious emails.

“We encourage anyone who becomes aware of a potential fraud, to report it,” Brown said.

Those who suspect they have been a target of a scam can:

  • Call National Center for Disaster Fraud’s hotline at 1-866-720-5721;
  • Send an email to disaster@leo.gov
  • Go to tips.fbi.gov.
  • File a cyber or internet related scams complaint to ic3.gov/default.aspx.
  • Call 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324)
  • Call the Eastern District of Texas COVID-19 fraud coordinator at 903-590-1400

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