The FTC is in full consumer protection mode to help avoid Coronavirus stimulus payment scams.
Consumers looking for their stimulus paycheck, courtesy of the recently-passed CARES Act, should be on the lookout.
Here is what the Federal agency has to say about coronavirus stimulus payment scams.
Stimulus payment scammers use phony communication
One trick used by bad-actors looking to steal your stimulus payment is through unofficial contact.
Specifically, the stimulus payment scams will come through text message, phone call/voicemail or email.
The IRS will NEVER contact you about your stimulus payment through these means. If you receive a message from someone posing as an IRS official, they are most likely a coronavirus stimulus payment scammer.
Another fact – the IRS will NEVER contact you asking about your bank account information, Social Security number, or government benefits debit card information. You will automatically receive your stimulus via the tax return payment method on file with the IRS.
Do not pay in advance for your stimulus payment
The title may sound silly when you read it aloud, but it is true. Anyone asking for a payment in order to receive your coronavirus stimulus payment is a scam artist.
You do not have to pay money in order to receive your stimulus check.
Clerical Error stimulus payment scams
Another type of coronavirus stimulus payment scam requires impersonating an IRS official (sound familiar?)
If you are contacted by an individual pretending to be an agency representative, they may ask you to deposit your stimulus payment and return some form of money as a repayment. The scammer will claim the government overpayed on their stimulus payment to you, and you have to return part of the money in order to correct their errors.
This is another coronavirus stimulus payment scam, and you should report this individual to the FTC right away.
We hope this information serves you well in avoiding coronavirus stimulus payment scams in the real world. Stay safe, and be aware! You can read about our other PSA warnings here.