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Every day new information relating to the government’s economic impact payments is being released. Many refer to this payment as the stimulus check. More than 80 million payments have been received by qualifying recipients, and others are still waiting for their payments. And scammers are ready to play their game.

Scammers will always find a way to trick or rip off people. Some scammers may ask for a fee, your social security number, bank account details, or any government benefits credit card information in return for helping you locate your payment if it has not arrived. Receiving a fake stimulus check with instructions to deposit it into your account and then to send it back to the government because you were paid too much is a red flag. Don’t fall for the trick.

In all situations, be careful about giving out your personal information related to receiving your government economic impact payments. The person requesting the information could be a scammer who is planning to steal your personal information or your money.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will NOT contact you to request your personal, bank account, or government benefits debit card account information. The IRS will NOT call, email, or text you about your payment. If someone contacts you asking for this information, you should know immediately that it is a scammer contacting you and not a government official. With so much information being reported about the economic impact payments, be extremely cautious about websites and social media schemes that attempt to request money or personal information.

For your payment verification, a letter will be sent by mail 15 days after payment is made to ensure that you, the recipient, know where your funds were sent. This letter will also provide information on how the payment was made and how you can contact the government if you did not receive the payment of record.

You can also avoid scams related to the stimulus payments by knowing if you qualify. Knowing this information will help you avoid visiting unsecured websites and giving out personal information in response to fake emails, phone calls, and text messages. For instance, you could give out all of your personal information only to discover later that you were communicating with someone posing as a government official.

The more information you have, the more you can avoid being scammed. If you have any questions concerning the stimulus payments, visit only the IRS website and submit information there if needed. Also, for specific questions, go to the Economic Impact Payment Information Center and Get My Payment tool portals on the IRS website. Finding the right source of information can perhaps save you from being scammed as you acquire more in-depth and reliable information about the program and your payment.

Following are a few guidelines from the federal government to help you determine if you qualify for a payment:

  • You are an adult US citizen or US resident alien and you cannot be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return.
  • You have a valid social security number (SSN) unless either spouse is a member of the US armed forces at any time during the taxable year and then only one spouse needs to have a valid SSN.
  • Your adjusted gross income must be below a certain amount based on your filing status and the number of qualifying children.
  • You can qualify as a taxpayer who filed in 2018 or 2019 if income does not exceed $99,000 if your filing status was single or married filing separately; $136,500 for a head of household; or $198,000 if your filing status was married filing jointly. Retirees, beneficiaries of public benefits, and people who do not have to file a federal tax return (nonfilers) if income is below $12,200 single or $24,400 for married couples also qualify.

Make informed decisions and report all scams to the Federal Trade Commission. This is our responsibility. If you see something out of the ordinary, say something to help protect others from becoming victims of a scam.

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