The Treasury Department said this week that tens of millions of Americans will receive cash transfers of up to $1,200 per individual plus $500 per child by the end of the day on Wednesday. The IRS started making direct stimulus deposits on Saturday for Americans that have account information on file.
Unfortunately, given the large number of people receiving stimulus payments and the fact that different individuals are eligible for different amounts based on their earnings and family situations, there’s bound to be some confusion surrounding the process. In that type of environment, scammers tend to thrive, and the Federal Trade Commission warned all Americans to be on the lookout for stimulus check scams.
Check Payment Status
Most Americans will not have to do anything to receive their payments, according to the FTC. They will simply be deposited directly into their bank accounts if the IRS has their account information. If you are unsure whether or your account information is on file, the IRS has launched a “Get My Payment” portal to check on your eligibility and payment status and enter bank account information if necessary.
Although direct deposits are being made starting this week, Americans receiving stimulus checks in the mail may not receive them for several months.
“As details emerge about how and when payments will arrive, some scammers may start using official-looking fake checks to steal money and confuse people into turning over personal information,” FTC Assistant Director Karen Hobbs said this week.
Protect Against Stimulus Scammers
The FTC said this week that Americans can do a handful of things to protect themselves from stimulus check scammers:
- Stimulus checks have not been mailed yet and will not be delivered until May at the earliest, so any check you receive in the mail claiming to be from the IRS in the next two weeks is a scam.
- The IRS will not overpay you and you will not have to return all or a portion of your stimulus check. Any stimulus check for an amount larger than you were expecting is a potential red flag for this type of scam.
- You will not receive calls, texts or emails regarding your stimulus check. The IRS will not contact you to collect personal information, including bank account information.
Official information regarding COVID-19 tax relief can be found at the IRS website here.
The key thing to remember is that most Americans who have received income tax refunds deposited directly into their bank accounts in the past will need to do absolutely nothing to receive their stimulus payment. Be suspicious of any contact from the IRS asking you to take any sort of action related to the stimulus payment.
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