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Economy

Michigan Treasury Dept. warns scammers may be after COVID-19 stimulus checks

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Michigan's charitable tax credit allows taxpayers to essentially double their contributions to certain nonprofits

The Michigan Department of Treasury is warning taxpayers about a possible uptick in phishing and phone scams.

The stimulus package approved by President Donald Trump last week will provide most adults with $1,200 deposited directly into their bank account. The state Department of Treasury expects scammers to ramp up efforts to intercept those federal checks meant to help citizens cope with the financial strain of COVID-19.

Ron Leix is a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Treasury. He says these attempts can be fought off pretty effectively if you are paying close enough attention.

"Phishing emails use a certain set of ingredients, such as a sense of urgency or believable stories or connection," he said.

Leix says tax preparers are likely to be big targets for these scammers because they handle sensitive data for a lot of people. Urgent calls and very convincing websites will ask for personal information. Leix says it's important to do your homework when it comes to these attacks.

"If you get an email from somebody or somebody calls you, threatening you or adding a sense of urgency, just hang up," Leix said. "Look the information up on your own and contact those primary sources."

Phishing attempts can be reported online with the Internal Revenue Service. More information on the federal stimulus package can be found on the IRS website.

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