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Cuyahoga County warns of coronavirus stimulus check scams

Scammers are apparently asking people for their private information in order to get the checks.

CLEVELAND — As government officials push a $2 trillion stimulus package forward to help Americans financially amid coronavirus concerns, but beware... Some criminals are apparently trying to take advantage of people looking to collect their money.

According to the Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs, scammers are attempting to obtain people's personal information by promising to give them their government checks. Citizens have reported receiving texts that say, "fill out this Census form so you can get you [sic] stimulus check. …If you don’t fill it out you will not receive a check in the mail."

The texts, the county says, "are bogus," as by law the coronavirus relief program is entirely separate from the census and the details of the program haven't even been worked out yet. Posts such as these will often contain malware and viruses, and some have been altered to look as if they are from the CDC or the World Health Organization.

"Even though some of these texts or posts may seem helpful, they are designed to harm us or our neighbors," Director of Consumer Affairs Sheryl Harris said. "We all have to be vigilant before we click on a link or share information."

The Federal Trade Commission is offering tips at its scam tracking site, ftc.gov/coronavirus. If you see a suspicious text, email, or other post, call the Cuyahoga County Scam Squad at (216) 443-7226.

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