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Don’t Get Phished Out of Your Stimulus Payment

Don’t Get Phished Out of Your Stimulus Payment

Wherever there is money, there are scammers. So it may not be a big surprise that scammers are out en masse trying to get between you and your federally mandated stimulus money.  It’s bad enough that we’ve already seen a couple of phishing scams using the COVID-19 pandemic that are designed to help hackers get into accounts they have no business in, now that these scammers know that people are getting cash, the scams are kicked up a notch.

This is not the first time that the U.S. government has distributed checks to everyone, but with online banking being more prevalent now, scammers have a more complete opportunity to steal money. Let’s go through the ways you can ensure that you get your stimulus money:

  1. Avoid anything that has you sign up for stimulus money - Unless you haven’t filed a tax return in the past two years, you will not have to do much to get your stimulus money. If someone wants you to fill out a form to get your stimulus money, you are definitely being scammed.
  2. Scammers don’t just act online - Like traditional phishing, you need to be aware everywhere. Whether you get postcards in the mail with a password printed on it or you get messages over social media, you need to know that being asked to take action to gain “access” or to “verify” your payment information is almost assuredly a scam.
  3. You can’t get your money faster - Some scammers have concocted a scam that “for a small fee” they can get people their stimulus check faster. With tens of millions of people already receiving their check, it's a sign that your money is on its way if you haven’t received it already. No service can help you get your money faster. 
  4. No, you aren’t getting more - What’s better than getting $1,200 tax-free money from your government? Getting more money. Some scammers are actually sending checks for two or three times the amount of the stimulus, the scammer will then apologize for the discrepancy and ask the recipient to reimburse them. The check and their strategy are completely false and should be ignored. 
  5. IRS correspondence - It’s true that some people have had to fill out forms on the IRS website in order to get their checks sent to them or deposited in their bank accounts. Of course, scammers have set up forms that look like it. If the form you filled out isn’t on the IRS’ website, you shouldn’t fill it out.

Knowing what you are up against is the best defense against scammers. If you haven’t yet received your CARES Act stimulus money, you need to go to the official IRS website to find out why (or more likely when) you will receive your stimulus check.

What scams have you been seeing lately? Let us know in the comments section below and return to our blog for more great technology-related information.

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