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4 Red Flags That Identify Stimulus Check Scammers

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4 Red Flags That Identify Stimulus Check Scammers

Published 04/30/2020

Americans have been receiving their $1,200 Government-issued economic impact payment, intended to support those affected during the coronavirus pandemic. However, that introduction of money is attracting scammers, hackers, and con artists.

In Q1 of 2020 alone, consumers have collectively lost more than $13.4 million to such tricks, with a median loss of $558 per individual. Almost 1 out of 5 fraud reports included unauthorized messages or calls, including impostors claiming to be a government administration worker. Banking and Finance Experts anticipate that ratio to rise as the government continues depositing stimulus money.

How thieves are targeting stimulus checks:

Numerous scams people currently face are new takes on classic financial scams that use the pandemic, and the need for economic relief payments as a hook. Scammers are hoping that people will be vulnerable enough to bait them into a scam to snatch their stimulus money before looking closely at the details. Many of those very scams include fake checks sent in the mail, impersonators calling on the phone, and phishing schemes sent out over text messages, email, and social media platforms.

With the phony check ploy, scammers are making counterfeit stimulus checks for higher amounts than you are supposed to receive. The victims become informed they have been overpaid and need to send payments back via cash, gift vouchers, or money transfers. At the point when the phony check bounces, the victims will lose their money alongside the amount received by the scammers.

While phishing is a digital attempt to deceive you by claiming to be somebody you know and trust. Con artists who send phishing messages are intending to gather sensitive personal data and financial account information, such as your Social Security number, account/routing numbers, or login data and security answers. Scammers then try to use the information you give them to steal from your accounts and perpetuate other kinds of fraud and identity theft.

4 Red flags to watch out for economic impact payment scams:

  • You do not have to do anything to claim your stimulus payment. “As long as you filed taxes for 2018 or 2019, the federal government likely has the information it needs to send you your money,” the FTC said in a recent report. You won’t need to sign up for anything or provide any personal information. If you want to receive your payment promptly, there are some ways to speed up the process, like filing your 2019 tax return and signing up for direct deposit with the IRS.
  • The IRS is not going to call or text you about your payment, and if you want to track your payment, you can do so using the new Get My Payment IRS tool. Disregard any bizarre calls, text messages, and direct messages pretending to be from the IRS or some other government organization about your stimulus check. The Federal Communications Commission even has some sound examples of these sorts of phone messages.
  • It is unlikely to receive an overpayment from the IRS. Your stimulus payment is based on your most recent tax return for either 2018 or 2019, and the maximum payment is $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. Experts say that even if your eligibility has changed, it’s unlikely you’ll have to pay the IRS back when you file your taxes next spring.
  • You’re not receiving a “stimulus check” or a “coronavirus payment.” A clear indication that you are dealing with a scammer is that they typically use incorrect terms regarding these payments, such as “stimulus check” or “coronavirus check.” The official term is ‘economic impact payment’ confirmed by the IRS.

Meanwhile, be alert and trust your intuitions. If something feels not quite right, or too good to be true, it may very well be a scam. For more information or questions, please contact Darryl Glass by phone at (510) 500-7531, e-mail or schedule a call in the future with Darryl below:

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