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Sheriff warns of stimulus check thieves

The federal government has been sending out stimulus checks in an attempt to provide some economic relief during the coronavirus pandemic.

However, these checks do not always make it into the hands of who they were intended for.

Sheriff John Shearon is doing his part to warn residents that criminals are looking to take advantage of them during the current situation.

“In hard times, it either brings out the best in people or the worst in people,” Shearon said. “While some people need this [stimulus check] money to help pay late bills due to them being laid off from their jobs, others are trying to steal those same checks.”

The thefts have taken place using scams, as well as by physically breaking into mailboxes in search of checks.

According to Shearon, once a check is in a criminal’s possession it can be fraudulently cashed or even be used to apply for credit cards in the name of whoever the check was made out to.

“Try to keep your mailbox cleaned out to limit their [criminals] opportunity to steal your identity or take your check,” Shearon said. “Please help us by keeping an eye out for any suspicious activity around mailboxes.”

Residents are advised to call the 24-hour dispatch at 205-755-1120 or 205-755-2511 to report any such suspicious activity.

Both phone numbers are non-emergency numbers and should be dialed instead of 911.

“We appreciate everyone helping us to deter crime,” Shearon said. “We cannot do it without you, and thank you for all you do in supporting us.”

For more information about the payments and whether they can be sent electronically visit irs.gov/eip.