It’s not a big surprise that hordes of scammers are trying to steal the federally mandated stimulus money. We’ve already seen a couple of COVID-19 phishing scams, but now with everybody getting cash, scammers are like sharks with blood in the water.
The U.S. government has distributed checks before, but with more people using online banking today, it’s easier for scammers to steal the money from anxious people waiting for relief. Here are some things to remember to make sure you get your stimulus money:
- Generally, you DO NOT have to sign up for stimulus money: Unless you haven’t filed a tax return in the past two years and you aren’t receiving Social Security checks of any kind, just wait. Anyone who says you have to fill out a form to get your stimulus money is a scammer.
- Scammers aren’t just online: Be aware everywhere. Whether it’s in the mail or over social media, if you are asked to take action to gain “access” or to “verify” your payment information, it’s probably a scam.
- No, you can’t get your money faster: If anyone tells you that”for a small fee” they can get you your stimulus check faster, it’s a lie. Millions of people have already received their check, so your money is on its way.
- No, you aren’t getting more: Some scammers are sending fake checks for two or three times the amount of the stimulus. The scammer will then apologize and ask the recipient to reimburse them -with real money. Throw it in the recycling.
- IRS correspondence: Some people have indeed had to fill out forms on the IRS website to get their checks sent to them or deposited in their bank accounts. Scammers have set up forms that look like it. Check that the form is legit by finding the form on the IRS website. If it’s not there, it’s a scam. Do not click on any link you haven’t verified.
- Check it yourself: If you haven’t received your CARES Act stimulus money, go to the official IRS website to find out why. Most likely you will find out that it is on its way without “help” from anyone.
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