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Warning: 3 new scams targeting COVID-19 relief payments

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    DALLAS (KTVT) — IRS criminal investigators are warning Americans to watch out for COVID-19 payment scams.

“(The government) has put out a lot of mechanisms to help people financially through the pandemic and now those mechanisms are being exploded by criminals,” said IRS Special Agent in Charge Mark Pearson.

Pearson said with each round of federal stimulus checks has come a spike in reported scams.

“The volume is unbelievable,” he said. “This is historically the greatest amount of fraud we’ve ever seen.”

Here are three new COVID-19 relief scams to look out for:

#1 FTC email scam

Investigators say the scam starts with an email that looks to be from Joe Simons of the Federal Trade Commission.

The email says you’re getting COVID-19 relief money and includes a fake certificate from the Treasury Department.

If you reply, they say you have to pay taxes before you get your money. That should be a red flag.

However, to convince you, they send a fake letter from the IRS.

If you pay, the scammers push it further. They say you now must pay the State Department for a certificate that proves the funds are not related to any terrorist activity.

#2 Stimulus check text scam

The text message says, “You have received a direct deposit of $1,200 (or $600) from COVID-19 TREAS FUND. Further action is required to accept this payment into your account. Continue here to accept this payment (web address)”.

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