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Fake text messages circulating Florida asking you to claim COVID-19 stimulus payment

Posted: 12:31 PM, Mar 24, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-24 12:31:37-04

(WTXL) — Attorney General Ashley Moody is warning the state about new scams related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Moody, the scams include text messages, phone calls, and even imposters posing as health workers offering free COVID-19 tests.

"Sadly, scammers never stop trying to make a dishonest dollar—not even amid a pandemic," Moody said. "If you receive an unsolicited text message, email, phone call or any other communication claiming a cash payment, government benefit or other COVID-19 related offer, be very suspicious. Guard your personal and financial information and report scams to my office.”

Over the weekend, the state said reports emerged of text messages asking people to click on a link to claim a $1,000 payment, apparently connected to a COVID-19 federal stimulus package. State officials say the link most likely contained malware.

You should never click on any links in unsolicited messages.

Several South Florida law enforcement agencies have also issued alerts about people dressed in white lab coats and masks impersonating Centers for Disease Control and Prevention workers.

The imposters are reportedly knocking on doors and offering free COVID-19 tests, which the CDC does not do.

So, if a CDC impersonator shows up at your door, do not let them in. Close the door and call 911 right away.

Nationwide, the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General is reporting a scam involving scammers calling older Americans and offering to mail them free COVID-19 test kits.

The scammers claim all they need from the senior to send the free kit is the target’s Medicare number but you should never provide health information, or any other personal information, during an unsolicited phone call.

Last week, Attorney General Moody issued another Consumer Alert warning of several other COVID-19 related scams.

Attorney General Moody has also activated Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline in response to the COVID-19 state of emergency. Consumers suspicious of price gouging can report it by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or by visiting MyFloridaLegal.com. Price gouging can also be reported to the Attorney General’s Office by downloading the free NO SCAM app in the Android or Apple app store.