Warning signs of a “stimulus” check scam

By Elvis Huff on December 30, 2020
4 minute read

With the recent signing of the Coronavirus relief bill, AKA Stimulus Check bill, into law, the second round of stimulus funds are on their way. Now that the promise of additional funds have become reality, criminals are increasing their tactics to get your information and your money.

Here are 8 warning signs from CNET and the IRS to watch for involving your economic impact payment (EIP):

  1. If you are told by text there is a second check
    Some consumers have reported received a text that asks them to click a link to receive their funds. You do not have to click a link to receive your EIP funds.

    Additionally, you should have an eye of suspicion on requests about your information or money that come through via text message.

  2. If you are asked to verify or provide financial information by phone, email, or text to speed up the delivery of your payment
    The IRS never calls or emails you to confirm your information. Read the IRS press release here.
  3. The person you are talking to via text or email uses language other than “economic impact payment”
    Per the IRS, the official verbiage is “economic impact payment”. Criminals will likely use other terms including the word stimulus.
  4. If you are a retiree, who does not normally file a tax return and someone offers to submit information for you. Or, claims you must verify the information before getting your check
    Per the IRS, no action is needed from retirees that do not file a tax return to receive funds.
  5.  If you get a random fake check in the mail
    Did you receive a random check in the mail? Is the amount odd, or include cents? Does the check contain a letter asking you to call/text/email to confirm once received? If you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, odds are you are about to scammed. Discard this check and letter securely.
  6. If someone says they can get you your payment faster
    There are no intermediaries between you and the IRS to get you your funds faster. Avoid these claims to get faster funding.
  7.  If you receive email attachments promising special information about payments or refunds
    The IRS will not contact you via email.
  8.  If you are told you have to pay to get your check
    The IRS is not going to ask you to pay to receive your funds.

For additional tips, check out my earlier posts about Coronavirus scams:  Avoiding coronavirus (COVID-19) scams and Coronavirus scams, part 2: PPP fraud.

Wilson Bank and Trust is here for you. Should you need help, please do not hesitate to reach out to us online at wilsonbank.com, our mobile app, or call us at (844) WBT-BANK (844-928-2265).

Have another thought, tip or suggestion? Leave it in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!

Posted by Elvis Huff

Elvis Huff worked as an officer and network administrator for 12 years with the Lebanon Police Department and has also served as an adjunct professor in information systems at Cumberland University. Read More »

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