The federal government has approved stimulus checks as the country deals with the devastating fallout from the coronavirus (COVID-19). However, these relief checks are giving scammers another avenue to try to steal your money and your personal information.
For the stimulus package, relief checks for $1,200 are being sent to tax filers with an income up to $75,000 as an individual and checks for $2,400 for married couples making up to $150,000. Tax filers who make more than these thresholds are receiving payments as well, reduced by $5 for each $100 above the thresholds. Tax filers also are receiving up to $500 for each dependent child.
Here are tips to help you avoid these new scams.
1. The Government Has Your Information.
Government officials are not going to call you and request your personal and financial information. They already have it. If you’ve filed taxes for 2018 or 2019, the IRS has your information on file and knows where to send your check. The same applies for Social Security recipients as the federal government has their information, including addresses and bank account information for direct deposits.
If you haven’t filed taxes recently, you can submit a tax return to receive your stimulus check. Find out if you’re eligible here.
2. There is no “sign-up” to receive your stimulus check.
Again, the government has the information it needs to send you your check. You are not required to sign up for your check or provide any personal or financial information. If someone emails, texts or calls you requesting your Social Security number, banking account number or other information, he or she is a criminal taking part in a phishing scam that aims to steal your information and money.
3. Stay Informed from Trusted Sources.
The government is preparing to send out the relief checks. You can find more information about your check here on the IRS’s website. Only use trusted web sites, such as the IRS and Federal Trade Commission, as resources to learn more about the stimulus check program.