Work & Money

Stimulus Check Scams

Most people have already gotten their economic stimulus payments, but the Internal Revenue Service is still sending them out. If you haven’t gotten yours yet or have questions about it, the IRS has a number you can call to get answers to common questions.

But the IRS won’t be calling you.

Scammers pretending to be from the government can rig up caller ID to look like a call is coming from the government. But the truth is: Government agencies usually will not call or email you — especially about something related to money. They almost always contact you by US mail.

If you have questions about Economic Impact Payments, the IRS urges people to visit their website, IRS.gov, to get answers to frequently asked questions. But you also can call the IRS at 800-919-9835.

Scammers like to pretend to be from the government to get your money or information. They’ll say they’re from Medicaid or Medicare, offering help getting medicine or equipment, or asking to “verify” your information. They pretend to be from the Social Security Administration, saying there’s been fraud or another problem with your Social Security number and — again — needing to “verify” your number. And scammers love to say they’re from the IRS demanding payment or they’ll arrest you.

But remember: if you get a call or email from the IRS or any government agency asking you for personal information or money, that’s a scam. Hang up the phone or delete the email.

To check the status of your coronavirus payment, visit irs.gov/coronavirus. Learn about scams related to COVID-19 at ftc.gov/coronavirus/scams. And, if anyone tries to trick you into giving up your information — or if you’ve already experienced a scam —report it to the FTC.

Lisa Lake is a Consumer Education Specialist at the Federal Trade Commission.

Photo: Thought Catalogue for UnSplash

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