By the end of March 2020, the Federal Trade Commission had received more than 5,000 complaints about text message scams defrauding vulnerable people for more than $ 2 million.
Scammers can take advantage of any vulnerability, includingand , to lure in unsuspecting people . Hackers have even been known to pose as government officials to present misinformation and trick people into downloading malicious items that compromise their credentials.
Here are some tips you can use to stop scammers from grabbing your economic stimulus payment – and what to do if you think you’ve been scammed. We took advantage of the official guidelines from the IRS website on how to avoid economic impact payment schemes. This story was recently updated.
8 scams with stimulus checks designed to steal your money and data
If you are told via SMS, there is a second check: Individuals have reported receiving text messages telling you to click a link to accept your payment with a stimulus check. If you received a text message like this, it is a scam. The text messages state that you have “received a direct deposit of $ 1,200 from COVID-19 (Treasury) Fund” and include a fake link to “accept the payment”.
If you are asked to verify or provide financial information via phone, email, or text message to expedite the delivery of your payment. According to IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig, the IRS will not call or email you to verify your information. Use this IRS web page only to send information to the IRS.
If the person you are talking to via text message or email uses a language other than ‘payment with economic impact’. The IRS said the official term is “payment for economic impact,” and scammers will likely say “stimulus check” or “stimulus payment” instead.
If you are a retiree and don’t normally file a tax return and someone offers to file information for you or claim to verify the information before you receive your check. The IRS says no action is needed on the part of retirees to receive an incentive check if they don’t normally file a tax return.
If you receive a fake check in the mail. If the check is for an odd amount – especially cents included – asking you to call a number or verify information online to cash it, the IRS says this is a scam. The IRS said it will deposit the payment directly into your account first and then send you a check if it can’t. For the, you didn’t have to fill out an application or contact the IRS in any way.
If someone says they can get you your payment faster. Anyone who asks to work on your behalf and promises they can get you money faster – in person or online – is a scammer. Additionally, the IRS says you shouldn’t be asked to sign your check to anyone else either.
Email attachments that promise special information about payments or refunds. Again, the IRS will not contact you via email or text, and links in these messages could be dangerous malware or phishing attacks.
When you are told you have to pay to get your check. The IRS won’t ask you to deposit your check and then send them money. The IRS says that payments for economic impact will be deposited directly into the same bank account listed on thethat you submitted for 2018 or 2019. If the IRS does not have a taxpayer’s immediate deposit information, a check will be sent to the last known address on our file.
Do you think you have been scammed? Here’s what to do
If – before or after a deal on the HEALS Act is reached – you think your personal information may have been compromised, the IRS suggests that you go to IdentityTheft.gov. The site allows you to report identity theft to the IRS and FTC at the same time and create a recovery plan.
After the checks are sent, you can check out the IRS ‘Get My Payment page to keep track of your second stimulus check. Simply tap the blue Get My Payment button to check the status of your economic impact payment.
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