Everyone is antsy to get their hands on the money from the economic stimulus package – especially scammers. With a lot of things happening very quickly, it’s easy to get lost in the details. So, here are a few things you can do to make sure your funds end up in your hands.
Do not respond to any texts, calls or emails regarding your payment
“We urge people to take extra care during this period. The IRS isn’t going to call you asking to verify or provide your financial information so you can get an economic impact payment or your refund faster,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said. “That also applies to surprise emails that appear to be coming from the IRS. Remember, don’t open them or click on attachments or links. Go to IRS.gov for the most up-to-date information.”
This also applies to social media or any other private message. You will never need to click on a link or provide information
Only provide your payment information at IRS.GOV
Your payment should get deposited into your account directly based off of your 2018 tax return information. However, if your account has changed since then, or you would like the money deposited into a different account, you may do so at https://www.irs.gov/
Take extra caution for the elderly
Retirees are a major target for these scammers. The IRS reminds us to take extra care of our elderly family members.
“The IRS also reminds retirees who don’t normally have a requirement to file a tax return that no action on their part is needed to receive their $1,200 economic impact payment. Seniors should be especially careful during this period. The IRS reminds retirees – including recipients of Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099 − that no one from the agency will be reaching out to them by phone, email, mail or in person asking for any kind of information to complete their economic impact payment, also sometimes referred to as rebates or stimulus payments. The IRS is sending these $1,200 payments automatically to retirees – no additional action or information is needed on their part to receive this.”
Be wary of fake checks
A lot of fraudulent checks have been sent in the mail. As of mid-April, very few checks from the IRS have actually been mailed. So, be very hesitant if you have received one – especially if it is an odd amount.
Here’s what MarketWatch had to say on the issue.
“Individuals with adjusted gross income below $75,000 will get the full $1,200 check and married households filing jointly will get $2,400. Households under that threshold will get $500 for every qualifying child under that amount. Payouts gradually decline $5 for every $100 above the threshold.”
“Beware of checks showing up, potentially in an odd amount, that require taxpayers to call a number or verify information in order to cash it, the IRS said.”
If you feel coerced, end the conversation
The IRS will never pressure or threaten you for information. Many pre-recorded calls will present a high level of urgency to respond. The FCC published examples of the pre-recorded audio conversations on their site here.
Report any suspicious Coronavirus-related activity
Here is what you should do if you suspect any fraudulent activity per the IRS.
Those who receive unsolicited emails, text messages or social media attempts to gather information that appears to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), should forward it to email@example.com.
Taxpayers are encouraged not to engage potential scammers online or on the phone. Learn more about reporting suspected scams by going to the Report Phishing and Online Scams page on IRS.gov.
Official IRS information about the COVID-19 pandemic and economic impact payments can be found on the Coronavirus Tax Relief page on IRS.gov. The page is updated quickly when new information is available.
The IRS reminds taxpayers that scammers may:
- Emphasize the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” The official term is economic impact payment.
- Ask the taxpayer to sign over their economic impact payment check to them.
- Ask by phone, email, text or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment.
- Suggest that they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on the taxpayer’s behalf. This scam could be conducted by social media or even in person.
- Mail the taxpayer a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, then tell the taxpayer to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.
More information for protecting your assets is available at our Fraud Protection Center.