With federal stimulus funds soon to be dispersed, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is warning taxpayers to be alert for possible scams.
Officials noted that for most Americans, the funds that include $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for a married couple, and $500 for each child, will be direct deposited into their bank account.
Scammers have been calling individuals asking them to verify their personal information.
“Ruthless criminals will take this opportunity to prey upon our fears in order to try and line their own pockets by stealing your money or your personal information,” said Bryant Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office.
U.S. Attorney Robert M. Duncan, Jr., and Jackson offer the following information and tips to spot a scam and understand how the COVID-19 related economic impact payments will be issued.
- The IRS will deposit your check into the direct deposit account you previously provided on your tax return (or, in the alternative, send you a paper check).
- The IRS will not call and ask you to verify your payment details. Do not give out your bank account, debit account, or PayPal account information – even if someone claims it’s necessary to get your check. It’s a scam.
- If you receive a call, don’t engage with scammers or thieves, even if you want to tell them that you know it’s a scam, or you think that you can beat them. 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 “check” in the mail now, it’s fraud – it will take the Treasury a few weeks to mail those out. If you receive a “check” for an odd amount (especially one with cents), or a check that requires that you verify the check online or by calling a number, it’s fraud.
“I encourage all Kentuckians to remain vigilant and not fall prey to scammers seeking to take advantage of the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 national emergency,” said U.S. Attorney Duncan. “The Federal Government will not contact you by telephone seeking your personal information. Everyone needs to remain alert. If you do get contacted by a scammer, report it immediately to law enforcement.”
If you believe you have been a target or victim of a scam or fraud, please report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via email at email@example.com