Don’t Get Scammed: Coronavirus Stimulus Payments

Don’t Get Scammed: Coronavirus Stimulus Payments

S.E. Williams | Executive Editor

With the recent passage and signing of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) advises Americans to be aware of the stimulus payment process.

According to the agency, those who understand the process are less likely to be tripped up by calls, text messages, or emails from scammers trying to steal their  money or personal information.

Most people do not have to do anything to get their money because the IRS will use the same payment methods, direct deposit, Direct Express debit card, or paper check, used to send tax refunds, Social Security, retirement, or other government benefits money including previous COVID-19 stimulus checks.

If the IRS does not have your direct deposit information, you can go to the “Get My Payment” feature at irs.gov/coronavirus and let them know where to send your direct deposit.

If you do not usually file a tax return, go to irs.gov/coronavirus to access the “Non-filer” portal and to figure out what, if anything, you have to do to claim your money. To check the status of your payment, you can now use the “Get My Payment” feature at irs.gov/coronavirus.

Beware of Stimulus Scams

Whenever the government  issues stimulus payments scammers view it as an opportunity to rip people off. They might try to trick you into paying a fee to get your stimulus payment or try to  convince you to give them your Social Security number, bank account, or government benefits debit card account number.

To avoid stimulus payment scams only use the government’s website irs.gov/coronavirus to submit information to the IRS—never give such information out in response to a call, text, or email.

The IRS will never contact you by phone, email, text message, or social media with information about your stimulus payment, or to ask you for your Social Security number, bank account, or government benefits debit card account number. Be confident in knowing anyone who does is a scammer fraudulently phishing for your information.

Everyone eligible will receive a stimulus payment—you do not have to pay anyone to get your stimulus money and the IRS will never tell you to deposit your stimulus check and then send them money back because they paid you more than they owed you. This is another popular scam.

Report all scams or scam attempts to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint.

S.E. Williams is executive editor of the IE Voice and Black Voice New.

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