Stimulus Checks Are Coming, Protect Yours From Scammers
On March 30, 2020, Congress’s latest coronavirus relief package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, was passed. The CARES Act is the largest economic relief bill in U.S. history and will allocate $2.2 trillion in support to individuals and businesses affected by the pandemic and economic downturn.
Individuals with a Social Security Number (SSN) and who are not dependents may receive $1,200 (single filers and heads of household) or $2,400 (joint filers), with an additional rebate of $500 per qualifying child, if they have adjusted gross income (AGI) under $75,000 (single), $150,000 (joint), or $112,500 (heads of household) using 2019 tax return information. (The IRS will use 2018 tax return information if the taxpayer has not yet filed for 2019.) The rebate phases out at $50 for every $1,000 of income earned above those thresholds. Forbes has created a handy calculator to find out how much you should be expecting.
Scammers have heard about this news too and they want your share of it as well.
The good news is that government agencies like the IRS and the Federal Trade Commission have resources that are available to help deter you from falling into the scammers trap. Here are a few things the agencies have suggested:
- Don't do anything - If you have filed our 2018 or 2019 taxes, the federal government most likely has the necessary information to send the funds to you. For those who receive Social Security and railroad retirees, who do not file a tax return are not required to do anything as well. If you otherwise have not filed taxes recently, you may need to file a simple tax return. IRS.gov has further information on how you can file to receive your check.
- Do not give your personal information to “sign-up” for your relief check to anyone - Plain and simple; Do not sign up for anything as there is nothing to sign up for. If you receive a call asking for personal information it is a scammer. Also, lookout out for emails that are phishing scams which pretend to be from a government agency. The phishing emails ask for your information as part of the “sign-up” process to obtain your stimulus checks.
- To set up direct deposit of your check only communication with the IRS - This can be done at irs.gov/coronavirus. This only needs to be completed if you didn’t give the IRS your bank account information on your 2018/2019 tax return. Do not communicate this information via an email, text, or call.
- There is no early access to the relief money - If someone tries to tell you otherwise, they are a scammer. According to the U.S. Treasury department, the funds should be going out within the next few weeks. Scammers will try and change the detail to trick you into giving out your personal information and money.
For official updates and more information, visit the IRS’s page on the relief payments. If you believe a scammer has tried to take your relief money, please report it to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint.
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COVID-19 Communication Center
Access the latest information including Citywide Banks relief efforts, how the CARES Act affects you, and more.
COVID-19 Communication Center