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Social Distance from the Scammers: Coronavirus Stimulus Checks

Dear Robin-

I think that I will be receiving a stimulus check but I am afraid that I might be scammed. What do I need to look out for? How I can avoid getting scammed? I really need the money.

Carolyn K-FL


Dear Carolyn-

That is a great question. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has received nearly 12,000 consumer complaints about alleged coronavirus-related cons and dirty dealing. Unfortunately, I can say with 100% certainty that the scammers will try to steal your money.


Stimulus checks are expected to begin arriving either in you account via a direct deposit or in your mailbox (if they are mailed), in mid April. So we all need to be on the lookout for the money to arrive safely in your bank account or mailbox.


Here are five ways to keep your social distance from con artists.


1.Your bank, or the IRS, will never contact you for personal information

If someone contacts you by phone, text or email asking you to provide your back account information or account pin...It is a Scam.


Your bank or credit union is not going to call and ask for personal pieces of information. They already have it


2 .You will never have to click through links to get your money

You should never open emails that claim to be from the IRS or click on attachments and links. Also be careful about unsolicited text messages with links. Always think before you click. Also be afraid of apps that have popped up solely about the coronavirus, Some of these applications could have malware and be collecting your personal information.


3. If you don’t have direct deposit, you’ll never need someone to set up your account

The IRS will be sending most of the money to households via direct deposit, using the banking information it already has on file to transmit tax refunds. So don't fall prey to anyone asking you to set up a new account.


4.You’ll never need to verify your check amount to anyone

The IRS is calculating the payouts based on the information it already has from 2018 or 2019 tax returns about a household’s adjusted gross income and number of children.

Beware of checks showing up, potentially in an odd amount, that require taxpayers to call a number or verify information in order to cash it, the IRS said. If you receive one of these check...call the IRS at their direct number. This is a scam!


5.You’ll never be threatened

Any unsolicited phone call claiming to have information about stimulus payments is already fishy — but especially if they are tough-talking ones. The IRS can be scary but they do not call and threaten you.


A crises can bring out the best in people helping family, friends and neighbors in need. Unfortunately, trying times can also bring out the worst in an unscrupulous few who seek to take advantage of a rough situation.


By the way, the IRS added, scams might play up the phrases “stimulus check” or “stimulus payment.” The formal term for the money is “economic impact payment,”


If you would like to learn more check out my resources on CyberSafeSenior.com

Coronavirus Cure or Snake Oil? (PodCast)

Coronavirus Scam: If in Doubt don't give it Out (PodCast)

Covid19 Themed CyberAttacks (YouTube)

CyberSafety and the Coronavirus (YouTube)

#CyberSafeSenior#BeSeniorSmart#Coronavirusscams


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