4/7/2020 - Avoiding Fraudulent Checks
In these trying times, not everyone is acting in good faith. And we want to prevent you from being taken advantage of. Identity thieves are using confusion over the stimulus checks to convince potential victims to turn over personally identifying information. The Better Business Bureau is already reporting that government impostors are calling about COVID-19 relief.
As part of the scam, callers suggest that you might qualify for a special COVID-19 government grant and that it is necessary to first verify your identity to process your request. This is incredibly important for our seniors to be aware of. Other scams suggest that you can get more money from the government or get your stimulus check faster if you share personal details and pay a small processing fee. Don’t take the bait. Stimulus checks are free money from the government. You don’t need to spend money to receive your check and there are no short cuts…even for a fee. Do not give out your bank account, debit account or PayPal account information even if someone claims it is necessary to get your stimulus check. It is a scam. Don’t give these thieves the time of day. 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! Don’t click on any links in those emails.
Reports are also swirling about bogus checks. If you receive a stimulus check in the mail now, it is a fraud. It will take the Treasury Department a few weeks to mail those checks out. If you receive a stimulus check for an odd amount of money, especially one that has cents, or a check that requires that you verify the check online or by calling a number, it is a fraud.
If you’ve spotted a scam, you can report it to the Better Business Bureau at www.BBB.org/scamtracker . Your report can help others avoid falling victim to these scams. With all governmental entities, no one will ever call or ask for your personal information over the phone. If anyone calls asking for your name, date of birth or social security number…HANG UP! If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Remember, you don’t have to do anything other than perhaps file a previously unfiled tax return to qualify for your stimulus check. There is no need to sign up or call the IRS. You can find more information when the IRS makes it available at www.irs.gov/coronavirus .
We are already in the midst of a public health crisis. Don’t allow yourself to become a victim of these criminals. Stay safe and stay aware.