Anytime (like now) that there is a rollout of government assistance, you can count on two things:
1) Bumps in the road (it’s difficult managing help for millions of people)
None of my clients have been victims of this, but I wanted to alert you to this dynamic.
How to make sure your check is the right check:
Most of the Economic Impact Payments (i.e. stimulus checks) have been direct deposited by now. So if you have NOT received your payment, you might want to check the status using the tool the IRS has set up here.
If you will receive a check instead of a direct deposit, there are a couple of things to note:
First, as with tax refunds issued by check, there’s always the possibility that someone could steal the relief payment from your mailbox.
Second, some scammers have created fake stimulus checks. This is the latest variation of the bogus government payment scam that’s been around for years.
Criminals send fake checks to their scam victims, advising them to quickly deposit the checks. Then the second part of the scam kicks in, with the crooks telling their prey that the checks are too large.
Since they “got more than they were due”, the recipients of the fake checks need to send back part of the money. Yes, send the alleged excess back to the crooks who issued the worthless counterfeit checks in the first place!
The various agencies have created a two-page PDF with more on the legitimate coronavirus checks.
“Check” that out (pun intended) and when you get something in the mail, verify it according to the PDF. The only thing worse than having to wait for your coronavirus money is falling for a fake stimulus check scam.
But wait, there’s more…
There are three more ways the scammers are feeling their oats:
1) Emails saying: “Your check is waiting.” Sure…
This is where the crooks say they’ll send you your coronavirus money. All you have to do is (you guessed it) provide some personal info. No way…
2) “I’m with the government and I’m here to help.”
If you get a phone call from the “IRS” or any other government agency, wanting to “help” you get your payment, hang up.
These are NOT real government officials. DO NOT give them any personal information. No, you don’t have to pay any kind of processing fees to get your payment faster.
The IRS or any government agency will NOT be calling you to help. They’re understaffed … but again, they do have this handy website.
3) “Click here to get your stimulus check.”
Again, no way.
They won’t be emailing you anything, even if these websites do look remarkably legit. They are actually open doors to thieves.
And they are cropping up like weeds now that the COVID-19 economic relief payments are being distributed.
In fact, there is a great service, Checkphish by Bolster, that tracks web fraud and offers services to deal with it. They have created a “COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Phishing Scam Tracker Global Online Dashboard”.
If you go there, you will see that there are literally hundreds of thousands of scams currently being perpetrated around these payments.
BE CAREFUL OUT THERE. We are in your corner.
“CRISIS Action Plan” for you:
1) Don’t marinate in other people’s panic. Be mindful of your social media consumption.
2) Continue to stay financially and logistically prepared for worsening situations.
3) Make sure you have some ready, liquid assets, if you are able. (i.e., cash in the bank, and in hand.)
4) Set aside plans for any big spending until the dust settles — but especially look out for your small business owner friends and vendors.
Last of all … we’re here to help.
Whether or not you get impacted by scammers, this is an intense season. Yes, taxes are still around the corner for some (July 15th), but leaving that aside … please let us know how we can help you make financial decisions in the next few weeks.