Stimulus Checks Are Coming, Protect Yours From Scammers
On December 30, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department began sending a second round of Economic Impact Payments as part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021.
Generally, individuals with a Social Security Number (SSN) and who are not dependents may receive $600 (single filers and heads of household) or $1,200 (joint filers), with an additional rebate of $600 per qualifying child, if they have adjusted gross income (AGI) under $75,000 (single), $150,000 (joint), or $112,500 (heads of household) using 2019 tax return information. The rebate is reduced by 5% of the amount by which your AGI exceeds the applicable threshold.
Scammers have heard about this news too and they want your share of it as well.
The good news is that government agencies like the IRS and the Federal Trade Commission have resources that are available to help deter you from falling into the scammers trap. Here are a few things the agencies have suggested:
- Don't do anything – Payments are automatic for eligible taxpayers who filed a 2019 tax return, those who receive Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits as well as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Veteran’s Affairs beneficiaries who didn’t file a tax return. Payments are also automatic for anyone who successfully registered for the first payment online at IRS.gov using the agency’s Non-Filers tool by November 21, 2020 or who submitted a simplified tax return that has been processed by the IRS. IRS.gov has further information on eligibility.
- Do not give your personal information to “sign-up” for your relief check to anyone - Plain and simple; Do not sign up for anything as there is nothing to sign up for. If you receive a call asking for personal information it is a scammer. Also, lookout out for emails that are phishing scams which pretend to be from a government agency. The phishing emails ask for your information as part of the “sign-up” process to obtain your stimulus checks.
- Check with the IRS for your payment status - This can be done at irs.gov/coronavirus. Never provide any information to a third party to check the status of your payment. Only the IRS can provide this to you. If you are experiencing a delay, the IRS has released a statement on these issues and what to expect.
- There is no early access to the relief money - If someone tries to tell you otherwise, they are a scammer. According to the U.S. Treasury department, the funds should be going out within the next few weeks. Scammers will try and change the detail to trick you into giving out your personal information and money.
- You don’t need to send money back to receive your payment – You do not need to pay any money to get your stimulus check. The IRS won’t tell you to deposit your stimulus check then send them money back because they paid you more than you were owed. This is a fake check scam.
For official updates and more information, visit the IRS’s page on the relief payments. If you believe a scammer has tried to take your relief money, please report it to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint.
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