As a way to stimulate the American economy, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has begun sending economic impact payments or stimulus checks to millions of U.S residents. Unfortunately, there has been a lot of information and confusion from many sources surrounding these checks. This process has been ideal for scammers who continue to try to take advantage of this pandemic that has put many in a vulnerable situation. While some scammers may be after the checks themselves, others are looking to use this opportunity to collect personal information such as social security information, bank account numbers, and other identifiable information.
The best tool against scammers is to stay informed and on high alert by paying attention to the warning signs of a scam. When looking for information regarding the stimulus checks make sure you always use trusted sources. In this case the IRS is the most trustworthy source to get your questions answered about when and how your stimulus check will arrive.
If you are asked to do any of the following a scammer might be trying to take advantage of you.
- Contacted via a phone, text, or email to “verify” personal or financial information. The IRS is rather busy at the time and will not be contacting you to confirm any of this information.
- Open an email or click on a link to receive your “stimulus check” automatically online.
- Ask for a fee to be paid or request a transfer before you can receive your stimulus check.
- Deposit a check over the known amount and then send money back, this is a fake check scam.
So far, the FTC has received approximately 18,000 stimulus check related complaints. It’s important that if you come across any of these warning signs, you contact the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint so others could be warned of a potential scam.
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