In the coming months, millions of eligible Americans will receive stimulus checks from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Scammers will use confusion over the stimulus checks to try to gather personal information and gain access to victims’ financial accounts. Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself.
How the Scams Work
- A scammer will call and tell you that you qualify for a special COVID-19 government grant and must verify your identity to process the request.
- A scammer will suggest that you can get more money from the government or get your check faster if you share personal information and pay a small “processing fee.”
- A scammer will send you a bogus check in the mail for an odd amount and require you to verify the check online or call a number.
- A scammer will ask if you are interested in a COVID-19-related small business loan.
Be cautious if you’re being pressured to share any information or make a payment.If you receive a fraudulent request, delete the text message, hang up the call, and avoid clicking on email links.
The IRS Will Never:
- Call to demand immediate payment over the phone
- Call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill
- Threaten to bring in police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested
- Demand that you pay taxes without allowing you to question or appeal the amount they say you owe
- Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card, or wire transfer
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone
How to Get Your Stimulus Check
You don’t have to do anything (other than perhaps file a previously unfiled tax return) to qualify for your stimulus check. The IRS will deposit or mail your check based on the information provided on your most recent tax return. It may take weeks for you to receive your check. While waiting, remember to stay vigilant and always think before you click. Stay informed at irs.gov/coronavirus