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Beware Of Stimulus Check Scam: What You Should Watch For

Updated : August 4th, 2020

Recently, the U.S. Congress and President Trump passed a $2 trillion Coronavirus stimulus package to help Americans facing economic hardships due to the outbreak of the pandemic. As a part of this financial relief measure, the federal government if offering a $1,200 stimulus check to the claimants through direct deposit or paper check. 

As millions of Americans eagerly wait for their money, cybercriminals or fraudsters are tricking people and trying to steal their money. If you are one among those expecting the Coronavirus stimulus check, then watch out for these red flags to avoid losing your money to scammers.

1. Requiring You To Fill The Paperwork 

Some sites or businesses may ask you to fill out paperwork to receive your stimulus check. But the truth is that you are not required to fill any paperwork to get your money or accelerate the process. The only way you can speed up the process is by signing up to a direct deposit with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 

2. Asking For Your Personal Information

As long as you have filed income taxes for 2018 or 2019, the federal government will have all the necessary information required to send your stimulus check. This means that you need not give your personal information to anyone or sign up for anything. If any person or website is asking you to enter your personal information, then cross-verify if the site is authentic or fraudulent. 

3. Claiming To Be A Member Of IRS Agency

Scammers may call you and claim they are from the IRS or any other government agency. If you receive any voicemails or phone calls, then ignore them as the IRS won’t follow any of these approaches to reach you. 

 The Federal Communications Commission has a few fake audio samples of the voicemails regarding Coronavirus student loans, testing kits, etc. which you can hear to understand how scammers work.

4. Asking You To Click Links To Get Your Money

Besides text messages or phone calls, fraudsters may also send you emails or text messages and ask you to click them. The text messages may include a link for “additional information,” that, when clicked, may redirect you to a site trying to collect your personal information. If you receive any suspicious emails, text messages, attachments, or links that claim to be from the IRS, then report it to the concerned authorities or forward the mail to phishing@irs.gov. 

 Also, beware of the apps that pop up solely about the Coronavirus. Such apps might include malware and collect your personal information.

5. Asking For Direct Deposit Account Information

The Internal Revenue Service will give you the stimulus check through direct deposit using the banking information provided by you while filing the income tax return. If you do not have direct deposit information, you can submit your banking information to the IRS via an online portal. If not, you can receive the money through a paper check. 

The IRS has issued a warning about the online stimulus check scams and has requested taxpayers not to share the direct deposit or other banking information with others to enter into the secure portal on his/her behalf.”

6. Requesting You To Verify Your Check Amount 

The IRS calculates the Coronavirus stimulus payment based on the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) provided by you in your 2018 or 2019 tax return information and number of children. Typically, individuals with AGI less than $75,000 will receive $1,200, married people having AGI less than $150,000, and are filing jointly, will receive $2,400, with an additional $500 per child. 

 Beware of the checks that show up an odd amount and require you to call a specific number to verify the amount as it could be a trap laid by a fraudster. 

If you want more information or any updates on Coronavirus stimulus check, visit the IRS’s economic impact payment website. If you come across any bogus calls or factors mentioned above, report it to https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1

 

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  1. I lived in ga in 2019 and move to florida in 2020 and work for the xmas months in nov-dec. I was told to do a combine wage claim. my question is which state do i file the claim in?

  2. I filed for pua in Ohio back in October 2020.My claim has been in ajudacatuon since 11/1/20.So 2 to 6 weeks is a total understatement! When I call.i am told to basically hurry up and wait some more.I have recently been redetermined and my claim is allowed.but I have one pending issue.How long is too long?

    1. Nicole,

      Unfortunately, nobody has an answer. There are perhaps thousands of pending applications. Please consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible.

  3. If you claim your weeks for unemployment and for the next 2 months you still have not received your money. Where can you go in volusia county to talk with a live person

  4. On NYS DOL website, my claim is saying current yet the information is for my old claim with 0 days remaining despite receiving 2 weeks of payments on the new claim and I was able to certify last night. I haven’t received anything; no letters or emails.

  5. I was disqualified for UI benefits for not providing an ID and other forms of identification. How do I fix this?

    1. Hi Mike, I’m in NYS and was at the end of my BYE on 3/14, I was still certifying but wasn’t getting paid. I found out I had to file a new claim because my other was exhausted. I’m still waiting on approval. Maybe you have to file a new claim. I hope this helps.

  6. They say 2-6 weeks it’s more accurate to say 2-6 months; and when you call many of them are rude and unwilling to assist!

  7. someone needs to look into Sharon L. Anton gillette, wyo. or dickinson, nd she is a fraud and has done so many fraudulent things and please look into her

    1. Annette,

      Please report it to the Fraud Division of the Unemployment Office in your state. You can report on the website.

  8. I worked part time for thee years here in florida. I’m currently not working. I’m also retired and collects social security.
    My question is
    Am I qualified to file for unemployment ?

    1. Ruby,

      To be eligible, you’re required to have sufficient hours and earnings. Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website.

  9. So adjudication takes 8 to 12 weeks. Oh okay, that explains why I havent received payment since July. That surely helps just like the rest of the information that you give. And by the way. What’s the NEW reason you can’t get through to the Call Center.

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