Because of COVID-19, many scammers have started working overtime to cheat you out of your stimulus payment check from the IRS. Fake emails, texts, and phone calls about these payments have risen 6,000% in recent weeks. I've even heard that some scammers are being so bold as to threaten to give you or your family members the coronavirus if you do not comply with their demands. Below are some things that the scammers are attempting in order to get your money.
Scan: You receive a text, phone call, email or social media post about your payment.
Truth: The IRS only communicates via mail.
Scam: You receive a notice from the "IRS" that you must make a payment before you can be issued a stimulus check.
Truth: There are no upfront payments required to receive a stimulus check. Scammers will insist that you pay using money orders, debit cards, wire transfer or maybe even gift cards.
Scam: Before a stimulus check can be sent, you must first provide your financial information.
Truth: The IRS already has your financial information from your tax return and will not ask for it.
Scam: The "IRS" says that you were paid too much in your stimulus check and you must return the money immediately.
Truth: The real IRS would never make such a request.
Scam: You receive an email requesting a donation for COVID-19 relief and there is a link to the Red Cross.
Truth: This is most likely a scam to get your personal information. If you want to make a donation, just go to the Red Cross website directly.
Scam: You receive an email that threatens to release embarrassing information about you if you do not send money immediately. Some of your personal information, including your password, is displayed in the mail.
Truth: The password displayed was stolen in an earlier breach. If you haven't already, change the password and ignore the email.
Scam: You receive an email informing you how to order personal protective equipment or getting a COVID test sent to you. There is a link that directs you to a professional looking website with the word "coronavirus" in the web address.
Truth: Thousands of fake websites that include "coronavirus" or "COVID" have been created in the last few weeks. It is a scam to get your personal information.
Scam: You receive an email or text that has a link to "opt-out" of future messages.
Truth: This is a scam to find out which email address or phone numbers are active. Do not click on the link.
The coronavirus is scary enough without all these scammers trying to take your money. Please do not fall for these tricks by these idiots! Always check the sender's email address. Again, the IRS will only contact you via the U.S. Post Office. It's also a good idea to change your passwords at least once a year if not more often.
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