Top Scam to Watch For: Coronavirus Stimulus Check Scams.
Well, that didn't take even a micro-second, did it? No sooner than a stimulus plan was mentioned to alleviate some of the financial difficulty of this pandemic, and we're already seeing fraudsters coming up with scams to try to snag that money.
What You Need to Know About the Stimulus Checks:
- Real stimulus checks will be direct deposited if you filed taxes in the past 2 years and you used direct deposit.
- If you don't have a bank account on file, they will mail a check.
- Social security recipients, who do not usually have to file a tax return to the IRS, will receive their economic impact payments directly and automatically into their accounts.
- If you haven't filed taxes recently, the Treasury is working on a web portal to help.
- For more information, visit the IRS.gov website page regarding Economic Impact Payments.
Watch Out for the Following:
- Emails, Texts or Calls claiming to expedite your stimulus check
- Any email or text requests to click on a link to update your account records
What Should You Do?
- Wait. There's nothing you can do to speed up the delivery
- If you do need to update your information, visit the IRS.gov webpage for further details.
New Fear, New Scams.
Nothing like a new pandemic to remind us how scammers have no regard for community, safety or life. The novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19 is just the latest opportunity for scammers to deceive, mislead and steal from people.
So, if we're familiar with these scams, why do people still fall for them? Well, during an emergency, especially when we are anxious for new information, we tend to be more susceptible to scammers offering information, fake charitable causes, fake vaccinations and anything else that feeds on panic and compassion.
To be clear, it's not our intent to cause panic, but rather, we do want to raise awareness of the potential for being scammed.
They're Using the Same Old Tools
If there's one thing scammers seem to be really bad at, it's innovation. The easiest way for them to try to trick you is to utilize the same tools used in so many other scams.This list should sound familiar, which is good for us, since it makes it easier to recognize the tricks being used.
- Fake Websites - It didn't take long before a fake Coronavirus Map website went up. Just visiting the website can put malware on your computer/device. Stick to trusted sources of information, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and other sites with an established reputation.
- Emails and Texts - Phishing emails and SMS are nothing new. Be sure to review our guide on Call and Text Messages which can help you to recognize these scams.
- Phone Calls - These can come in the form of robocalls or live person calls. Just a reminder to NEVER give any personal or financial information over the phone unless you KNOW it's who you think it is. Also, review our guide on Phone Scams to refresh your knowledge.