Avoid Stimulus Scams


Stimulus Scams

The Department of Justice has warned of a new round of scams where criminals are reported to be planning on taking advantage of the second round of stimulus payments and the upcoming tax filing season.

Be skeptical of any telephone calls, e-mails, or websites that request personal or bank related information while offering services that seem too good to be true.

Here are four stimulus payment-related scams to look out for.

 

1.  Fake checks

Scammers might mail you a physical check, which looks exactly like the government-issued stimulus checks. Once the check is deposited into your bank account, the scammer (pretending to be from the government) will claim you have been mistakenly overpaid and ask you to return some of the money.

Why is this a scam?

The IRS won't send you a stimulus check then request money back because they paid you more than they owed you. That's a fake check scam.

 

2.  Phishing emails and texts

Those awaiting their stimulus payment might receive emails, texts or messages on social media claiming to be from the government. One of these emails or messages might ask you to click on a link to "verify" your information or to fill out an application requiring your bank account information to receive your stimulus check.

Why is this a scam?

The IRS won't contact you by phone, email, text message, or social media with information about your stimulus payment, or to ask you for your Social Security number, bank account, or government benefits debit card account number. Anyone who does is a scammer phishing for your information.

3.  Fake Websites

Never click on any links in phishing emails or text messages. Doing so can lead you to a fake website that can download malware onto your device and steal your personal information by asking you to fill out a form or provide information.

What should you do?

Always start at irs.gov/coronavirus to check your eligibility, payment status, enter direct deposit information or to find out what to do to get your payment. Never click on links in emails, texts or social media about receiving money. Those are scams.

 

4.  Robocalls

Scammers may also try to contact you while pretending to be a government official on a robocall, which is a recorded message rather than a live person. Some of these calls might claim you need to pay an upfront fee to retrieve your stimulus check or ask you to verify your personal information.

Why is this a scam?

Anyone who tells you to pay a fee to get your economic impact payment is a scammer".


 

What you need to know:

  • The IRS will not call, email or text you to verify or request your financial, banking or personal information.
  • Watch out for websites and social media attempts to request money or personal information. Visit IRS.gov for the most current information.
  • Don't open unexpected emails that look like they're coming from the IRS or click on any attachments or links.