Scams Involving Stimulus Payment
Apparently not even a pandemic stops a scammer. The IRS and the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS have detected new and evolving phishing schemes targeting the upcoming stimulus payment. The IRS is warning all taxpayers to be alert. These scams can lead to tax related fraud and identity theft.
Many who will receive the payment are the elderly, retirees and other vulnerable citizens. The scammers are expected to especially target these groups. Please make sure to alert friends, family and neighbors to be on the lookout. This is what you need to know to prevent being scammed:
- The IRS is not going to call you to verify or provide financial information so that you can get the economic impact payment, or so that you can get it faster. The payments will come to you automatically.
- The IRS is not going to e-mail you about your economic impact payment. Do not click on any attachments or links in an e-mail. Remember the IRS never e-mails.
- The IRS will not text you or post messages on websites or social media requesting money or personal information in order for you to receive the check.
- The scammer may emphasize the words “stimulus check” or “stimulus payment”, however, the official term, and the one used by the IRS, is “economic impact payment”.
- The scammer may promise to work on your behalf in order to get the payment or refund faster. This scam can take place over social media or even in person. I doubt anyone or anything can make the IRS move any faster!
- The scammer may ask to have the stimulus check signed over to him/her.
- You may receive a check in the mail which asks you to call a number or verify information online in order to cash the check. This check is a fake. If you receive your payment in the form of a check, it will come from the Department of the Treasury and you do not have to do anything to cash or deposit it.
- No one from the Social Security Administration is going to be calling, mailing, e-mailing or visiting retirees who receive social security income for any information. These individuals will get their stimulus payment automatically from the IRS, even if they have not filed a return. As allowed by the law, the IRS will be relying on Forms SSA-1099 and RBR-1099 to issue the stimulus payment.
- The IRS Service Centers have shut down their phone lines and will not be issuing letters until July 16. Hence, you will not be receiving mail or phone calls from the IRS regarding the stimulus payment or asking that you supply information in order to receive the payment.
Remember that the stimulus payment will be automatically deposited into the direct deposit account listed on your 2019 return, or your 2018 return if the 2019 return has not yet been filed.
If you have not provided direct deposit information to the IRS, you will be able to provide this information online, in a secure portal being developed on the IRS website at www.irs.gov. This is the only place where banking information should be entered. This portal is expected to be operational in mid-April.
If you do not wish to provide the IRS your banking information, the IRS will send you a check to the address they have on file.