Crooks are after Ohioans’ Coronavirus stimulus checks. And all of your other money, too. The special agent in charge of criminal investigation for the Cincinnati Field Office of the IRS is warning taxpayers to watch out for scams liked to your COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments.
Many Americans will shortly be receiving payments of $1200 each or $2400 per family plus an additional $500 for each dependent child. Those on Social Security will also see checks.
Of course, where there’s money, crooks who want to steal it show up. Special Agent Bryant Jackson is giving taxpayers a heads up about some of the methods crooks will use to take your cash or steal your identity.
Jackson says, “Ruthless criminals will take this opportunity to prey upon our fears in order to try and line their own pockets by stealing your money or your personal information.”
For most people, their stimulus checks will be directly deposited into their bank accounts. If you don’t have a bank account or you usually get your tax refunds of Social Security checks in the mail, you’ll receive a paper check. You don’t have to do a darn thing got get that check.
Jackson says two things you must watch our for are:
- Scammers who try to get you sign over your check to them
- Scammers who say you need to ‘verify’ your information.
Here are the basics about how it all works straight from the IRS. Anyone who tells you anything differently, is straight up lying.
- The IRS will deposit your check into the direct deposit account you previously provided on your tax return (or, in the alternative, send you a paper check).
- The IRS will not call and ask you to verify your payment details. Do not give out your bank account, debit account, or PayPal account information – even if someone claims it’s necessary to get your check. It’s a scam.
- If you receive a call, don’t engage with scammers or thieves, even if you want to tell them that you know it’s a scam, or you think that you can beat them. Just hang up.
- If you receive texts or emails claiming that you can get your money faster by sending personal information or clicking on links, delete them. Do not click on the links.
- Bogus checks may also exist. If you receive a “check” in the mail now, it is not legitimate. Treasury checks have not yet been mailed. If you receive a “check” for an odd amount (especially one with cents), or a “check” requiring you to verify the “check” online or by calling a phone number, it is a fraud.
- The IRS will not ask you to send money before it will issue your economic impact payment. If someone asks you to send money to get your payment, do not send money.
Got it? Make sure to share this information with anyone you think might be vulnerable to falling for a scam.
If scammers contact you, email [email protected] or call 1-866-720-5721.