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4 Tips to Avoid Stimulus Payment Scams

Sunday, April 26, 2020
Stimulus Payment Scams to Avoid

Have you gotten a stimulus payment yet? Due to the state of the world's economies, many leaders are brainstorming ways to help lessen the impact. In the United States, leaders have agreed to pay most citizens $1,200. Of course, there are caveats. 

If you’re a taxpaying citizen over the age of 18, and not claimed by parents as a dependent, chances are that you’ll receive a $1,200 check. If you’re under 18 or claimed as a dependent, the person claiming you will receive $500 for each dependent.

In most cases, the IRS will have your banking information on file. Rather than a paper check being mailed to your last known address, that lump sum will be directly deposited into your bank account. However, you might not have received your money yet, even though family and friends already have. What can you do? The IRS suggests that you go to this site that will let you know if you’re eligible, and the current status of your payment. And if the IRS doesn’t have your direct deposit information on file, you can give it to them on the site. That way, you know your payment won’t be delayed by waiting for a paper check to go through the mail. 

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However, everyone is trying to locate where their money is. And since millions of people have lost their jobs and are desperate for anything that will help pay for groceries or rent, everyone is scrambling. Some scammers are preying on that desperation. Conflicting information has confused many people, and some people will fall for scams that could leave them worse off than they would have been without the money. 

There are lots of tiny tricks that could help you spot a potential scam. If you’re paying attention and being vigilant, it’s easier to make sure that your banking information is safe. 

There are four main tips, though, that will help you spot any scams that come your way. 

  1. On the official wording of any site you’re visiting, make sure that the phrase ‘stimulus check’ or ‘stimulus payment’ isn’t used. Those are common terms used by media outlets and in common vernacular. The official wording being used by the IRS and the Treasury Department is an economic impact payment. 

  2. You may be asked to sign over that $1,200 lump sum in exchange for getting more money. Even though it sounds like it will help you in the long run, you’ll be left with none of the original money. And you certainly won’t be getting anything extra from a scammer! 

  3. Anyone asking to verify your information is suspect. You can input your information on the official IRS site to verify you are a taxpayer. But anyone directly requesting information verification such as phone, email, text, or social media requests to verify your financial or personal information is a scammer. 

  4. Another popular scam involves receiving a check, but you aren’t able to cash it. Instead, you’re told to call a number listed on the check or verify your information online before they will allow you to cash it. As a rule of thumb, the best way to avoid scams is to avoid giving out any type of personal or financial information in exchange for receiving your economic impact payment. 

Using these tips can help you receive your money as soon as possible, without dealing with nightmare scam situations. If you're worried about whether something is a scam or not, give us a call! Our trainers can help you spot scams in an over the phone session to help keep your financial information safe. 

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