Various coronavirus-related scams continue to make the rounds, and this time it is about the stimulus check. Deaf Vee Journal wanted to take the time to warn you about the stimulus check scams, where you can go for accurate information about the COVID-19 stimulus check, and how you can report those scams.
Stimulus Check Scams
Let’s say you receive an e-mail from a sender who claims to be with the Internal Revenue Service [IRS] or the Social Security Administration [SSA] and this sender asks you for your name, address, date of birth, and bank account information just so you can get your stimulus check. Is this a scam? Yes.
You might get a text message on your phone from someone who says they are from the IRS or the SSA and they need to collect your personal information for you to get your stimulus check. This is also a scam.
Someone might call you on your personal phone or VP and say they are from the IRS or the SSA, and you need to give them your personal information if you want to get your stimulus check. This is not true. It is a scam as well.
For an ASL version of this scam alert, check out All Hands On’s video here.
The IRS and the SSA will never contact you and inquire about your personal information for your stimulus check. If you have filed your 2017 and 2018 taxes or you receive Social Security benefits, the IRS already has your information on file and will send a direct deposit in your bank account.
If you have not filed your 2017 and 2018 taxes and you do not receive Social Security benefits, you will need to go to the IRS’ new webpage here, click on the blue button that says “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here,” and fill it out.
If you do not have a bank account, you have to let the IRS know that and they will have to mail a check to your current address. You are eligible for the stimulus check if you have a green card as a resident here in the U.S. or you are a U.S. citizen, you have a valid Social Security number, another taxpayer does not claim you as a dependent, and your adjusted gross income is under specific limits.
Beginning April 17, the IRS will launch a “Get My Payment” tool where you can check the status of your payment, including the date when the payment is scheduled for deposit into your bank account or to be sent in the mail to you.
Reporting General Scams
If you suspect a scam, report it to your state consumer protection office and you can go here to find the contact information for your state’s consumer protection office. If you lost money or anything else that belongs to you, report it to your local police department as well. If you see fake websites, emails, advertisements, and other content on the Internet, report them to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
The Federal Trade Commission [FTC] is the main government agency that collects scam reports. You can report the scam online with the FTC complaint assistant, or by phone at 877-382-4357 from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time. The FTC accepts complaints about most scams, including these popular ones:
- phone calls
- computer support scams
- imposter (fake person) scams
- fake checks
- demands for you to send money (check, wire transfers, gift cards)
- student loan or scholarship scams
- prize, grants, and sweepstakes offers
The FTC collects reports of identity theft as well. If your identity has been stolen, go to IdentityTheft.gov or call 877-438-4338 from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m, Eastern Time.
Reporting SSA or IRS Scams
Scammers often pretend to work for the Social Security Administration [SSA] or the Internal Revenue Service [IRS]. Common signs include:
- threats of arrest or lawsuits
- demands for payment
- suspension of your Social Security Number
- cancellation of your Social Security benefits
For any Social Security scams, report it online to the Office of the Inspector General here. If you prefer to report it by phone, you can dial 800-269-0271 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Eastern Time.
For any IRS scams, you can report them online with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration [TIGTA]. The TIGTA is available at 800-366-4484 by phone as well, although the open hours are unknown at this time.