Stimulus payments

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Attorney General Bob Ferguson is warning Washingtonians about scams related to stimulus payments from the federal government to help people get through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ferguson clarifies the federal government will not ask to confirm your personal or banking details by email, phone or text message, or demand a "processing fee" to obtain or expedite your payment. Avoid clicking any links in emails or text messages related to stimulus checks and don't provide any personal info.

“Many Washingtonians are hurting financially as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, and urgently need the relief promised by the federal government,” Ferguson said. “Scammers are seeing this news as well, and will take advantage of the opportunity to try to get your personal information. Don’t fall for it.”

Details of when/how the stimulus payments will be provided are not yet decided on, but generally the federal government will use tax information they have on file from the prior two years to either provide funds via direct deposit or mail checks.

Ferguson added that it could likely take several weeks for the Treasury Department to begin mailing checks, and any soon-arriving checks (especially any requiring verification) are scams.

"If you are contacted by a scammer, do not engage — even to tell them you know it is a scam," Ferguson added. "Email addresses and phone numbers that are confirmed to be active are more valuable when selling to other scammers."

Scams can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission.