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Times are tough. Millions of Americans found themselves abruptly unemployed and wondering how to make ends meet. Thankfully, the government is set to send relief checks to relieve a bit of financial stress. Unfortunately, scammers want your Coronavirus stimulus check too. Over 13,000 complaints of COVID-19 related scams have already been reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Through April 7, $9.59 million in total fraud loss has been reported. You should learn the warning signs to look for In order to avoid being swindled. 

The IRS will never call, text or e-mail to ask for personal information. 

The same goes for your bank. If you receive a call or message asking for personal information, hang up. Scammers are using this time of financial stress to prey on Americans in need of this assistance. Some of your personal information may have already been obtained, possibly via the dark web, and one more piece of information could give them access to your money. If you want to double check the validity of the call or message, make note of the institution and caller then hang up. You can then call that institution directly and inform them of the call you received. If it was legitimate, the institution will have record of an attempt to contact you. 

Never allow someone to help you set up direct deposit. It isn’t necessary. 

Stimulus checks will be direct deposited via the banking information on file that was used to deposit tax refunds. If you’ve never received a tax return via direct deposit, a secure portal will be available later this month for you to submit your bank information. Never allow someone to do this for you or assist you with this. If you’re unable to submit your information through the portal, you will be mailed a paper check. 

 Never verify your check amount to anyone.

Specific guidelines are in place for how much money will be distributed to an individual. This information is determined by your tax return from 2018 if you haven’t filed your taxes for 2019. The IRS has all of the information it needs so you will never need to verify how much money you are supposed to receive. 

Anyone calling to inform you of an issue with your check should not be trusted.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has received audio of numerous different types of robocalls which are threatening Americans. These calls may demand payment for past-due taxes or issues with Social Security claims, among many others. As you’ve learned from previous bullet points, no one from the IRS or your bank will contact you for information or to give you information.

We wish you the best in these trying times. If you are expecting a paper check, keep a close eye on your mailbox. Scammers want your Coronavirus stimulus check and we hope the information in this article will help you stop that from happening. 

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