Posted by The TaxAdvocate Group, LLC

Protect Your Stimulus Check from Scammers: 5 Red Flags to Consider

Protect Your Stimulus Check from Scammers: 5 Red Flags to Consider

In a bid to help Americans weather the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS will soon start distributing checks to people. Everyone should, however, be on the watch out for con artist. There are scammers out there that do not mind robbing people of their stimulus package.

Millions of Americans have suddenly become jobless, and small businesses are on the verge of folding up. As a result, the government came up with an act to cushion this.

It is not surprising that there is already a rise in a scam related to Coronavirus. Fake websites are claiming to be charity dedicated to Coronavirus. There are medical equipment scams. It is not surprising that there are unscrupulous beings after stimulus checks. These checks will get to the recipients via mail. Scammers will try to come for your money, so you have got to be smart.

Here are some tips to protect yourself from these Scammers: 

The IRS or Your Bank will not Request for your info.

There is a significant probability that scammers have some of your info like your phone number and bank name. They might, however, need a piece of information to access your money like your pin. 

The scammer will likely call you to disguise like a bank representative. They will make it appear as if your stimulus check needs to get in your account as soon as possible. To do this, you will have to surrender the 3-digit security code behind your card or your password.

The flaw with this, however, is that the IRS and your bank already have all your info. They will not call you for such info. In the same way, Uncle Sam will not ask you to verify any info or provide financial information. 

The IRS adds that the formal term used for this relief money is "economic impact payment." Scammers, on the other, will use phrases like "stimulus payment," "stimulus check," or "stimulus package."

Your Money is Not Available via any Link 

When someone call or text you in a bid to scam you, be aware that the scam might come through links in emails or text messages as well. Watch out for suspicious links that claim to be from the IRS. It might also come in the form of texts or attachments. You are better off forwarding such mail to the IRS using:

Scammers have devised many means to defraud unsuspecting individuals. The email or SMS might look so genuine. They might even claim to want to help you rectify issues with your bank. Clicking such a link could be handing your banking details to criminals.

In the same way, there are many fake apps developed claiming to help with COVID-19. Many such apps come with malware hence be careful.  

You Will Not need anyone to Help set up a Direct Deposit Account for You

Many households will receive stimulus funds via direct deposits. The banking info it uses is the one available on file for remitting tax refunds.

In case you do not have direct deposit information on your tax returns, you have two choices. You can send in your banking info via a portal to the IRS. Also, you might get a paper check if your direct deposit information is not available. 

No One Will Ask You to verify Your Check Amount 

Your payout will be based on the info the bank has for your last two year's tax returns. It will also be based on the adjusted gross income for your house in addition to the number of children.

People that have below $75,000 as their adjusted gross income will get the full amount- $1200. The amount will double for married people filing jointly. For every qualifying child, the household receives $500. The pay, however, reduces by $5 for every $100 above the limit.  

You might get a check in which you will be required to call a number or verify some information before you cash it. Beware of such checks – they are a scam.

Watch out for Threats 

Scams, most times, comes via unsolicited calls. Another thing that gives them away is that they are harsh and seek to instill fear in people. 

These robocalls related to Coronavirus comes in various forms. They might have to do with student loans, test kits, and allegedly suspended Social Security claims. 

Any call you get that needs your overdue tax before it pay is a scam. Calls claiming to file charges or arrest you if you do not cooperate a scam. These are simple tactics to instill fear. 

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