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Beware of Stimulus Check Scams

Federal Stimulus Checks to offset lost income will be sent in a few weeks.

The details of how this will work are still being developed by the IRS, but we do know a few things about this.  Here is what you need to know, as updated by the latest information from the IRS.

  • You do not need to do anything to get your check. If you filed taxes for 2018 or 2019 or are a recipient of social security or railroad retiree benefits, the federal government should have the information it needs to send you the check by direct deposit.  Otherwise the check will be sent by mail. 
  • Do not give anyone your personal information to “sign-up” for your relief check. There is nothing to sign up for.  Anyone calling to ask for your personal information, like your Social Security Number, PayPal account, or bank information is a scammer, plain and simple. 
  • Be on the look-out for phishing scams, where scammers pretend to be from the government and ask for your information as part of a fraudulent “sign-up” process for checks.
  • To set up a direct deposit of your check, communicate only with the IRS at irs.gov/coronavirus. You only need to do this if you did not give the IRS your bank information on your 2018 or 2019 tax return or if you already receive Social Security or Railroad Retirees benefits. The IRS will be setting up a portal at their website at irs.gov/coronavirus, to help people, but no other website is legitimate and NEVER respond to an email, text or call because the government will not contact you to ask for this information.
  • There is no early access to this money. Anyone who claims that they can get you your money “fast” or “immediately” is a scammer.  The IRS is still working out the timeline for checks to go out.  Scammers are using this lack of detail and information to try and trick people into giving out their personal information to the scammer. 

If a scammer calls or contacts you, don’t engage – hang up – delete the email – do not click on a link. 

To get official updates and more information, visit the IRS’s website on economic impact payments. And if you come across a scammer trying to take your check, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at  ftc.gov/complaint.