After President Donald Trump signed a $2 trillion relief bill, the Internal Revenue Service is warning residents about potential schemes that could leave residents scammed out of the money sent to them.
The president signed the bipartisan stimulus package Saturday with the hope that it will aid millions of American households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most adults will be sent $1,200 with additional payments of $500 for every child under the age of 16 years old.
Some adults, however, will not get the full amount. Single adults making $75,000 or less, married couples with no children making $150,000 or less, and individuals filing as head of household making $112,500 or less will see a $1,200 or $2,400 check depending on the filing.
Residents making more than those amounts will see payment decrease until it stops altogether for single adults earning $99,000 or more and married couples who have no children and earn $198,000 or more.
According to a press release by the IRS released Monday, most Americans will receive stimulus funds via direct deposit into the bank account used for their 2019 tax filing. For individuals without bank information provided, the elderly or other groups who have received tax refunds via paper checks in the past, they will also receive their stimulus checks via mail.
Already, the IRS is reporting scammers attempting to con taxpayers out of their stimulus checks. According to the IRS, these scammers are attempting to get individuals to sign over their checks by attempting to “verify” sensitive filing information that would allow scammers to receive the checks or use the personal information to file false tax returns.
The IRS is asking the public to stay informed by understanding a number of imperative aspects of the stimulus checks to ensure they aren’t conned out of their money.
First, the IRS will deposit checks into the direct deposit account previously provided on the 2018 or 2019 tax return, or send a paper check, if that is what has been selected in previous years.
That being said, the IRS will not call or ask taxpayers to verify payment details.
If residents do receive calls from individuals or groups claiming to be with the IRS, the department is encouraging taxpayers not to engage with the scammers, even if they want to tell the schemers they know it is a con. Instead, the IRS is urging people to simply hang up and avoid giving any personal information.
Similarly, if taxpayers receive emails claiming they will be able to get their checks faster by sending personal information or clicking on links, they advise immediately deleting the emails and avoiding any attachments or links provided.
The IRS has also seen instances of “bogus checks,” according to a statement. If residents receive a stimulus check in the coming days, it should be considered fraudulent. The U.S. Treasury will take a few weeks to issue and mail checks.
Additional methods to identify fraudulent activity include noticing checks with odd amounts, checks with cents or checks that require taxpayers to verify online or over the phone.
According to the statement, phone calls made by criminals impersonating IRS agents that are aggressive and threatening remain one of the biggest threats to taxpayers.
While various IRS impersonation scams continue year-round, these cons are likely to peak when scammers find prime opportunities to strike, such is the case with the opportunity of stimulus checks.