During this pandemic, we must protect ourselves in more ways than just our health. Now is the time to protect ourselves from tax-related fraud and identity theft. Our current environment is new and unfamiliar for everyone, which the IRS warns is the perfect time for scammers to attack. Many of us are trying to figure out how much and when we will be receiving our stimulus check, and some of us, especially retired individuals, will be subject to scammers.
One of the most common ways these criminals try and trick you are through fake IRS phone calls, text messages, and emails. The IRS will not be contacting you this way, so don’t fall for it! If you do open one of these emails, be sure not to click on any links or attachments. There has also been a number of fake checks being distributed; it's going to take the Department of Treasury a few weeks to send out checks so if you have already received one, it’s likely fake.
If you’d like information on your stimulus check, go to IRS.gov and follow these steps:
- Click “Get Coronavirus Tax Relief”
- Under Economic Impact Payments click “What you need to know about payments”
- For non-filers, you have the option to enter your payment information to see if you are eligible for the economic impact payment. For retired individuals receiving Social Security, Social Security Disability Income, Social Security Survivor Benefits, or Railroad Retirement and Survivor Benefits, you do not need to use this application because the IRS already has your information.
- For filers, there is a “Get My Payment” application coming soon where you can check your payment status, confirm your payment type, and enter your bank account information for direct deposit if the IRS doesn’t already have your direct deposit information.
Today’s Newsweek article provides a very helpful list of stimulus package scam warning signs when trying to distinguish between a real or fake phone call, text message, or email:
- Emphasizing the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Package.” The official term is economic impact payment.
- Asking the taxpayer to sign over their economic impact payment check to them.
- Asking by phone, email, text, or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment.
- Suggesting that they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on the taxpayer’s behalf. Their scam could be conducted by social media or even in person.
- Mailing the taxpayer a fake check, perhaps in an odd amount, then telling the taxpayer to call a number to verify information online in order to cash it.
- Receiving texts or emails claiming you can get your money faster by sending personal information or clicking on links. Do not click on any links in those emails or texts.
Please reach out to us if you have any questions about the stimulus package, along with any of the other current changes that are being made.
This information is not intended to be a substitute for individualized legal or financial advice, and we suggest you discuss your specific situation with a qualified financial advisor.