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Stimulus Payment Scams

 

By Kelly Griese

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

By now, many of you should have received another stimulus check. Just before the new year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Treasury Department began delivering a second round of Economic Impact Payments (EIP) as part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (CARES) to millions of Americans who also received the first round of payments. Direct deposits began on December 29, and the first paper checks were mailed out on December 30. Not everyone will receive their payments at the same time, but you can monitor the status of your payment by visiting https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment.

The IRS emphasizes that there is NO action required by eligible individuals to receive this second payment. 

And yet… scammers would like you to believe otherwise. As with the first round of stimulus payments, plenty of con artists are working overtime to steal your money and more. The IRS warns that one of the new scams involves criminals texting you to say further action is required for you to receive your stimulus payment. The text includes a link to a phishing website, which appears to come from a state agency or relief organization, and that website directs you to a fake website impersonating the IRS.gov Get My Payment website. Scammers are looking to collect your personal and financial account information. If you receive one of these text messages, you’re asked to take a screen shot of the message and then email that image to phishing@irs.gov with the following information:

  • Date/Time/Time Zone that you received the text message
  • The number that appeared on your Caller ID
  • The number that received the text message

Remember, the IRS does NOT send unsolicited texts or emails, and the IRS will not call you with threats of jail or lawsuits, nor will it demand tax payments using gifts cards.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reiterates some of these points by stressing the following:

  • The government won’t ask you to pay anything upfront to get this money. Anyone who does this is a scammer.
  • The government won’t call, text, email, or contact you on social media to ask for your Social Security, bank accounts, or credit card number. Anyone who does so is a scammer.
  • There’s no such thing as getting your money early or faster. Anyone who says they can hook you up now (or soon), is both lying and a scammer.

If you are contacted by a scammer using these tricks, you should reach out to the FTC by visiting https://reportfraud.ftc.gov.

Finally, the IRS has a great page of information regarding some frequently asked questions, and I encourage you to bookmark it for reference. It addresses questions about eligibility, delivery methods, and how much money you can expect to receive.

The Economic Impact Payments and the CARES act are issues we will continue to follow throughout the pandemic. Medical and economic responses are ever evolving. Indiana MoneyWise is committed to delivering you the most timely, relevant, and accurate information when it comes to your finances.


Blog topics:  Fraud Prevention, Archive