05/14/2020: COVID Stimulus Checks Vs Scammers

During the times of the COVID-19 lock down, it seems nothing is off limits when it comes to scammers!

New reports of the latest scamming efforts include ways scammers are using the government funded stimulus checks to trick the unsuspecting.

Those that qualify for a check will likely see it via direct deposit into their checking account. The deposit will be made by the IRS. As details emerge – scammers are on the hunt for their next move during these uncertain times. Below is a list of tips posted by the Federal Trade Commission that you can take to stay one step ahead of a scammer trying to cash in on your check.

  • The check’s not in the mail – yet. Reports say that paper checks – for people without direct deposit – will start arriving in May at the earliest. So, if you get an economic impact payment, stimulus, or relief check before then, or you get a check when you’re expecting a direct deposit, it’s a scam.
  • The IRS will not send you an over payment and make you send the money back in cash, gift cards, or through a money transfer. If you get an official-looking check for more than what you were expecting – say, for $3,000 – the next call you’re likely to get is from a scammer. They’ll tell you to keep your $1,200 payment, and return the rest by sending cash, gift cards, or money orders.  It’s a scam.
  • That’s not the IRS calling, texting, or emailing. Scammers are sending official-looking messages – including postcards with a password to be used online to “access” or “verify” your payment or direct deposit information. The IRS will not contact you to collect your personal information or bank account. It’s a scam.

For trusted information and updates about IRS payments – including eligibility, how to sign up for direct deposit, or where to file a short tax form – always start with irs.gov/coronavirus.