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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. AUGUST 11, 2020

    The Virginia Employment Commission has proven to be extremely unresponsiveness. I applied for unemployment benefits on June 1, 2020 and was surprisingly advised that my claim was denied because there was no record of my employment during the base year of January 1, 2019 – December 31, 2019. However, not only was I employed through the year of 2019, I also filed my state taxes for 2019 in spring of this year and received a refund from the state. Therefore, it is bizarre that the Virginia Employment Commission/Commonwealth of Virginia would have no record of my employment for 2019.

    I appealed this decision on June 17, 2020 via VEC’s web site, via fax, and via mail (USPS) and, almost two months later, I have yet to hear from anyone at VEC with regard to the status of my appeal. I have also not been able to connect with anyone by phone or via chat on VEC’s web site. On July 28, 2020, I applied for Virginia’s Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and have yet to receive a response concerning my application.

    VEC has demonstrated VERY POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE and it is my hope that someone will finally follow-up with me.

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