COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Begins Rolling Out; With it Comes Scams

Published on April 15, 2020

Stimulus Check Scams

As the COVID-19 economic stimulus package rolls out this week, many Americans will begin receiving money in their bank accounts.

However, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is urging taxpayers to be mindful and patient so that you don’t fall victim to fraud.

While the process of receiving funds might be confusing for some, scammers are looking to cash in on your confusion and vulnerability during these trying times. Don’t fall for it!

According the the IRS’ website, some Americans will begin receiving direct deposits beginning Wednesday, April 15th. If you’re receiving a paper check in the mail, those have not yet been distributed.

Here are a few reminders we hope will help you avoid any scams:

• The checks are NOT in the mail yet. According to the IRS, those checks will be sent out some time in May. If you happen to receive any “stimulus check” before then, it’s most likely a scam. Also, if you know you’re receiving a direct deposit, and you receive a paper check in the mail, it’s also most likely a scam. If you’re not sure, you can check the status of your funds on the IRS’ website.

• The IRS is NOT calling, texting, or emailing Americans. Scammers will often send official-looking emails or texts with a password to “access” or “verify” your payment or direct deposit information. The IRS will NOT contact you to collect your personal information or bank account. It’s a scam.

• The IRS will NOT send you additional money and require you to pay it back in cash, gift cards, or through a money transfer. If you get a call or email from anyone claiming to be with the IRS, HANG UP or DELETE that email! They’ll tell you to keep your $1,200 payment, and return the rest by sending cash, gift cards, or money transfers. IT’S A SCAM. AND YOU’LL THEN OWE YOUR BANK MONEY.

If you have any doubt during the process of receiving your economic stimulus funds, you’re probably right about your gut instincts. We’ll continue saying it – if it seems too good to be true or if you have any doubt, you’re probably right!

Take a few minutes and do your homework to avoid a financial headache down the road. That’s the last thing any of us need right now during these uncertain times.

For trusted information about the process, do your research on the IRS’ website.