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Manatee County Sheriff's Office warns of coronavirus phone scams

Many Americans are expected to receive government stimulus payments in the next three weeks.

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  • | 4:00 p.m. April 1, 2020
  • Longboat Key
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The IRS and the Treasury Department announced Monday that Americans will receive their economic impact payments in the next three weeks amid the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office said scammers are calling people, claiming they need to provide their personal information to confirm and expedite payment processing.

“Scammers are wasting no time developing new scams during these tough times,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a Facebook post. “Please note- stimulus checks are being processed by the IRS, and they will NOT call you about them.”

The town of Longboat Key has not had any reports of possible scams related to COVID-19, according to Longboat Key Fire Rescue spokeswoman Tina Adams.

About 69% of the 6,700 full-time residents in Longboat Key are older than 65 years old. Adams said Longboat Key’s older residents could be more susceptible to scams.

“We’ve definitely had our challenges at times on the island with certain scams, whether it be phone calls or letters,” Adams said. “We just try to remind the public and educate them not to give their personal information over the phone, not to respond to emails if they don’t know who they are.”

Adams said Longboat Key residents can contact local law enforcement if they have questions.

The federal payments are part of the $2.2 trillion rescue package that President Donald Trump signed into law last week. The package is aimed at providing emergency relief to families and small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Americans earning up to $75,000 in adjusted gross income will receive $1,200. Married couples filing joint returns will receive $2,400 if their adjusted gross income is less than $150,000. Parents receive $500 for each qualifying child too.

Single filers with income exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible.

Most people who are eligible won’t need to do anything to get the money. The payment will be deposited directly into the bank account reflected on your tax return.

However, people who do not typically file a tax return will need to file one to receive the payment. Low-income taxpayers, senior citizens, Social Security recipients, some veterans and individuals with disabilities who are otherwise not required to file a tax return will not owe tax, the IRS said. The IRS is putting together instructions for people in these groups to file a 2019 tax return.

For more information on the government stimulus checks, visit the IRS website.

Click or tap here for more of the Observer's coronavirus coverage.




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