Moody warns of scams tied to stimulus money

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NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Attorney General Ashley Moody on Dec. 28 warned Floridians to be leery of stimulus-related scams, a day after President Donald Trump signed a massive coronavirus relief package.

“Scammers are always looking for new opportunities, and the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 makes the pandemic the perfect tool for fraudsters to target victims,” Moody said in a video.

“Another round of stimulus payments may also provide scammers with more ammo to concoct these schemes.”

Moody’s office highlighted on its “Scams at a Glance” webpage tips to spot fraud, with common signs of scams related to COVID-19 and stimulus payments including unsolicited calls or emails; highpressure tactics or too-good-to-be-true offers; threats of loss if immediate action is not taken; and requests for immediate payment by wire transfer, credit cards, prepaid debit cards or gift cards to expedite stimulus funds or other benefits.

The stimulus package extends two programs from the CARES Act approved earlier this year: The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for self-employed people and gig workers and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which adds 11 weeks of jobless benefits for people who have exhausted state benefits.

The package also provides $284 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program. It offers forgivable loans for small businesses and direct payments to households of $600 per adult and child.

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