AG Brnovich Issues COVID-19 Economic Impact Check Consumer Warning

Don’t respond to calls, texts, or emails asking for personal information to get economic impact funds

PHOENIX - Attorney General Mark Brnovich wants Arizonans to be on the lookout for scams related to the recently-enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Scams are emerging where con artists falsely promise early access to CARES Act impact funds or seek consumers’ personal information as prerequisites to receiving government funds. The Attorney General's Office (AGO) wants to stop fraud before it occurs and encourages consumers to protect themselves by recognizing and avoiding scams upfront.

Fraudsters may pretend to be from the government or a non-profit offering to help you get an economic impact check. They may insist they can help you "pre-qualify" for a payment. Scammers may call, text, or email. They might create an official-looking website or online advertisement. They will ask for personal information such as a Social Security number, personal financial institution information, birth date, or a small up-front payment or fee. These are scams. Do not give them money or any personal identifying or financial information.

The IRS or any government agency will not call, email, or text you asking for personal information or up-front payments, and will never ask you to purchase a gift card for any reason. Be careful when clicking links in emails or opening attachments from an email or text message that you didn't sign up to receive. Never give out personal information over the phone, email, or Internet, unless you initiated the contact, and you are certain about the identity of the person requesting the information.

COVID-19 economic impact checks will be delivered based on 2018 or 2019 tax return information, so no action is required for most people. If you have received your refunds via check in the past, a check will be mailed to you. In the coming weeks, the Treasury Department plans to develop a web-based portal for individuals who do not have their direct deposit information on file to securely provide their banking information to the IRS online. This will allow individuals to receive payments immediately as opposed to receiving checks by mail. The IRS has published more information in this Q&A.

Additional information can be found here on the IRS website.  

The AGO recently launched a COVID-19 webpage dedicated to providing consumers with the latest information on coronavirus scams and frauds.

If you believe you have been the victim of consumer fraud, you can file a consumer complaint by visiting the Attorney General’s website. If you need a complaint form sent to you, you can contact the Attorney General's Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6648, or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at (800) 352-8431.