Florida Attorney General issues warning about COVID-19 texting scam

Attorney General Ashley Moody Consumer Alert on price gouging
Attorney General Ashley Moody Consumer Alert on price gouging
Updated: Nov. 17, 2020 at 12:14 PM EST
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Florida’s Attorney General Ashley Moody is warning state taxpayers of a new COVID-19 related text scam that misleads recipients into giving out their banking information in exchange for a $1,200 stimulus check.

This latest scam impersonates the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Moody’s office reminds everyone that the federal government and state agencies will never require personal banking information to be given out through a text message to receive stimulus payments.

According to a press release, the text message says that the recipient received a $1,200 direct deposit from COVID-19 TREAS FUND and requires further action for the payment to be deposited into the account. The text then directs the person to follow a bogus phishing link.

The URL to the link appears to be a state agency or relief organization’s website, but when it is clicked the URL directs the person to a website fraudulently impersonating the IRS.

Anyone who receives the text should immediately report it to the IRS by sending a screenshot of the message to this website with the following information:

  • Date, time and time zone the text message was received;
  • The 10-digit phone number that sent the text; and the recipient’s mobile phone number.

“As long as COVID-19 remains a threat, scammers will attempt every trick in the book to exploit taxpayers and coerce them into disclosing personal information,” Moody said.

Moody also encourages Floridians to make themselves more aware of emerging COVID-19 scams on the COVID-19 resource link on the MyFloridaLegal website.

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