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Coronavirus checks: flattening the scam curve

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There’s a lot to worry about when it comes to the Coronavirus crisis, including the new ways scammers are using the economic impact payments (so-called “stimulus checks”) to trick people. To keep ahead of scammers who are trying to cash in on those payments, read on.

Scammers have no shame, and nothing – not even a global health crisis – is off limits. They’re pitching fake Coronavirus vaccines, unproven cures, and bogus at-home testing kits. So, it’s not surprising that scammers are exploiting confusion about economic impact payments too. But it’s still shameful.

Most people who qualify for a check will automatically get it direct deposited by the IRS within weeks. But 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. Here’s some information to help avoid fake check scams that might be arriving soon.

  • The check’s not in the mail – yet. Reports say that paper checks – for people without direct deposit – will start arriving in May at the earliest. So, if you get an economic impact payment, stimulus, or relief check before then, or you get a check when you’re expecting a direct deposit, it’s a scam.
  • The IRS will not send you an overpayment and make you send the money back in cash, gift cards, or through a money transfer. If you get an official-looking check for more than what you were expecting – say, for $3,000 – the next call you’re likely to get is from a scammer. They’ll tell you to keep your $1,200 payment, and return the rest by sending cash, gift cards, or money transfers. It’s a scam that will leave you owing money to your bank.
  • That’s not the IRS calling, texting, or emailing. Scammers are sending official-looking messages – including postcards with a password to be used online to “access” or “verify” your payment or direct deposit information. The IRS will not contact you to collect your personal information or bank account. It’s a scam.

For trusted information and updates about IRS payments – including eligibility, how to sign up for direct deposit, or where to file a short tax form – always start with irs.gov/coronavirus. Learn how to avoid scams by subscribing to the FTC’s consumer alerts, and report scams to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

Tagged with: imposter, IRS, scam

Comments

Thank You for the voice of reason.

Do we know if the IRS will offer any type of verification tool for proceeds they end up having to issue a check for? I know as a consumer, there will be web access to determine the status of their payment, but a verification tool for FI's to use?

Thanks for the information

Thank you, FTC. Scammers are unconscionable and unrepentant thieves!

Thank you for the heads up and I'll keep that in mind

Thank you

Hi am want you to now that am very helthy and am in broomfield Colorado and i.have not do the fack test and I have the up to date with my full shot and I hope that you dot get the very bad full and I want you to stay healthy and to have a safe and good good day to jeff hanson

I am very grateful for receiving this extra money and I thank you all very very very much gratitude helps my attitude love and prayers to our country and I pray that the Coronavirus subsides. Respect life

I will be so mad if someone gets my check..it happened to me with the identity theft with the FDIC money in 2009 i will not go through this again. I asked FDIC to help me and others I will never forget what happened to me on that check i have been down and out and no body helped me

thank you,for all you do to keep us informed.im glad I have FTC, on my side.i look forward for the consumer information.

Thanks!

I dont think a day goes by where I dont have at least one robocall, claiming to be from a collections agency, or trying to sell me something. One that happens a lot is some male voice telling me he is from the Police Benefits and want me to donate to them . My policy is to hang up as soon as I hear a recorded voice, or a real voice trying to sound official. Phooey on this!

If my spouse passed away March 26, 2020, will I receive his stimulus check.

Will your stimulus payment be on the green dot card if you had your tax money deposit on there?

Please go to irs.gov/coronavirus for the most recent news about payments. 

There isn’t anything about the green dot card on the site yet.

I was here to ask same question. I have been told that it will but haven’t seen or heard anything 100%. I hope it does. Good luck !!

No I'm hearing green dot holders will get a check smh.

Getting older doesn't mean you become more trusting, put the hammer on these scammers, they're nothing more than criminals who want to steal from you, any way they can, report them or give them a piece of your mind

I have had scammers do what you said to me, they sent checks for big money and told me to deposit the money, then send them a certain amount and I could keep the rest. It was all a fraud. Thanks for reminding me of them. Edna

I am a widow. My husband died Nov 2019. I filed taxes jointly as I was allowed to.
I got full couple direct deposit today.
I haven't found any help on the IRS site about what to do so I called my senator. Paying the $1200 back at the end of the year is one thing. Paying interest for 8 months is another. What a mess. Help

My condolences on the loss of your husband. Recently becoming a widower myself, I am in the same situation. I plan at this time to wait, as I expect there will be an accounting on next years tax return for these funds, but also will check now and then with IRS as the dust settles. Try not to stress over it. But I do recommend just leaving it in the bank where they put it, and not using it, because they may figure it out someday and reach into your account and take it back with no notice. Be very careful as this may lead to scammers contacting you posing as IRS and asking for you to send the money to them. Be well.
H

I have a green dot acct. IRS shows that my deposit was made to that acct, automated green dot says they have no further, but acct is correct. Anyone, any ideas on long it takes green dot to deposit. Green dot and the IRS continue to bounce me back and forth. Each ask for me to contact the other. Please any info will be better than what is being offered by either of them

Yes when I log into the irs.gov/coronavirus. It tells me that they have not processed my taxs for this year yet but i have and have recieved a return and then say to put in my 2018 info instead i have and they still are saying they have no record I've checked and doubled and tripled checked all is accurate but yet don't direct me on what to do i don't understand any of this stimulus payment process I assumed my money would be deposited where my return was but I've not recieved anything did anyone have this same issue

Same thing is happening to me. Saying it was deposited on the 15th but haven't received anything on my Green Dot card but all my info is correct. Have u heard anything?

This is exactly what happened to me greendot also sent me someone else’s account info by mistake my funds were recieved by greendot on the 15 th and I haven’t seen them still

did you ever recieve your check on card? if so how long did it take. I am in the same situation.

With the scams that are going on, how can recipient verify the check?

Also, will the dependent ($500) and single (up to $1,200) or married (up to $2,400); will the dependent and the tax payers check be combined into one? Hope i phrased that correctly.

Hopefully there will not be any direct deposit scams?

Are data being leaked from the Social Security Administration or from vendors handling of data?

I have already filed 2019 taxes and received them in Feb 2020. I did not have direct deposit, but had it put on a debit card. When checking Wheres my payment, it shows I received it on April 15th on an acct number that ends in my husbands last 4 social. So will we receive a check and when will the estimated time we will receive it be? Or will it be put on the same debit card we used for out income tax? Thank you!

I need to know if im gonna get the stimulus check on my green dot card the same one i put in the system and got my taxes on

Just got one of them bogus checks in the mail. Not even signed by President Trump. I am due for DD soon so I recognized it for what is was.

Hello FTC. I know now of two people, including myself, who recently became widows or widowers that received an additional check for our late spouse. I imagine there are many many thousands of us. Some of us are not savvy seniors (aka scam ripe). I find no info on this situation. Please put some official guidance info out asap for us so we know what to expect and from who and maybe when.
Thank you

Okay,,so my stimulus check was automatically sent to my Green Dot automatically but it says it was sent April 14th. I never had direct deposit set up on this card, I barely use this card.. it's negative $19.00 right now also. How do I go about getting green dots bank to approve the transaction or decline it so I can just receive a paper check instead it put on my Green Dot card?

I'm in the same green dot says my card was canceled due to not using but still showed a balance but when I tried to change my contact info after I already gave to the irs then was told was closed and they would reject the deposit and I would get a paper check well in still waiting.

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