HOW TO SPOT STIMULUS CHECK SCAMS
Updated: Apr 27, 2020
The federal government is in the process of delivering Economic Impact Payments i.e.: cash to many U.S. citizens to help stimulate the economy. The maximum amount for individuals is $1,200 and $2,400 for joint filers. People with kids receive an additional $500 for each qualifying child. The payments begin to phase out for taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes above $150,000 for joint filers, $112,500 for heads of households and $75,000 for other individuals.
Avoiding Stimulus Check Scams
With $2 trillion being pumped into the U.S. economy, scammers are hard at work trying to steal from the unsuspecting. To avoid stimulus check scams, remember the following:
The IRS Never Emails, Calls or Texts: Any official communication from the IRS will be delivered via postal mail. A common phishing scam is a phone call or email requesting verification of bank information in order to complete check processing.
The IRS Uses Official Terminology: Many of us casually refer to the payments as, stimulus checks, but the IRS will not. Look for the official name, “Economic Impact Payments.” This will give you a clue as to the authenticity of the communication.
Third Parties Will Not Get Your Money Faster: Social media can be a hotbed for this tactic. Do not engage a third party that promises “faster money.” They’ll request your social security number, bank account number and more. From there your identity and bank account is in someone else’s hands.
Fraudulent Checks May Arrive in the Mail: Fraudulent checks may arrive via postal mail with directions to call and verify information in order to cash the check.
The IRS has said it will deposit these economic impact payments directly into the accounts of taxpayers who used direct deposit for their 2018 or 2019 taxes and those receiving Social Security payments. All others, including non-tax filers who do not submit a Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ, must register with the IRS to receive their payments via an online portal.
Reporting Scams & Phishing Attempts
Those who receive unsolicited emails, text messages or social media attempts to gather information that appear to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), should forward them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FAL’s tax consultants are here to offer further advice on how to spot and avoid stimulus check scams. Contact us today at 702-870-7999.